Benchmark Business Group

Set Clear Expectations with Your Team

October 27, 2015

This month, as we've focused on how to cultivate an employee ownership mindset, you may have noticed that we've focused on what you can do as a leader and not on what your employees can do. This was deliberate. As a leader you can create the foundation for your employees to establish ownership, but they have to be willing to step up to the plate. This week we'll focus on how to ensure your employees know what is expected of them so they can step up to the plate.
Before your employee's can adopt an ownership mindset, they need to know what is expected of them. Lack of clarity on expectations or rules will lead to employees that hesitate to make decisions and shirk responsibility. There are three elements in your business where expectations need to be crystal clear: position expectations, employee handbooks, and systems.


  • Position Expectations - Too often, employees are left to read minds or guess at what they need to be doing on a daily basis. Each position in your business should have clearly defined accountabilities that communicate not only "what" needs to be done, but "how" it needs to be done. We often see very vague job descriptions that are used to set expectations. To ensure clear communication, take a hard look at any document used to set expectations for the positions within your business. Could you reasonably follow them and create a daily check list of the work to be done? If not, it may be time to check in with your business coach regarding position descriptions.
  • Employee Handbooks - Many businesses lack even a basic employee handbook that describes policies such as Paid Time-Off, break schedules, and other human resource policies. In addition to these basic business policies, you should also have set policies on how the office is kept, dress codes, and other areas that help set the tone for the business. By making sure these day to day questions are clearly defined and communicated, employees can spend their energy on what needs to be done and true problem solving.
  • Systems (of course)You know we advocate and promote the idea of systems. Cultivating the employee ownership mindset is one of the benefits to implementing systems in your business. Systems give your employees directions and guidelines when you are not there. It's your voice and message captured in a way that can be repeated at any time. In addition, as your team uses and gets to know your systems, they begin to understand how you think about customers, business, and problem solving.
Remember that setting the employee ownership mindset culture starts with you as the leader. You must make sure to communicate with your team, establish trust and loyalty, and set clear expectations. Once these elements are implemented and working, and if you have the right team on board, you will see that the employee ownership mindset starts to grow naturally. If it doesn't, talk to your business coach because it may be that you don't have the right people on your team.

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