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Motivated employees have the power to increase organizational productivity and help surpass company goals. Because of this, these high-quality employees are highly valued and are in high demand. To ensure a positive outcome of any initiatives designed to increase productivity, it is imperative that organizations set clear expectations for their employees to follow.

Know Your Employees

Motivated employees are more persistent, creative and productive, willingly turning out high-quality work on a regular basis. Everyone has different motivators. It’s critical to get to know each member of your team as an individual and use different tactics to drive them based on their personal wants and needs.

Personal motivation comes from within. It has its basis in values, beliefs and intentions. Managers need to cultivate and direct the motivations that employees already have – and they accomplish this by setting realistic, measurable, achievable expectations.

  • Knowing your employees as individuals helps you position them for success. Managers must be attuned to the specific strengths of the people on their teams.
  • Employees need to know what’s expected of them. A lack of clearly-defined expectations can lower productivity and lead to a loss of credibility for companies in the eyes of their workforce.

Gallup recently asked more than 11,000 workers to respond to the statement, “Every week, I set goals and expectations based on my strengths.” Only 36 percent strongly agreed.

  • Employees who set goals based on their personal strengths are more likely to be high performers. They need to know what their strengths are and how to best apply them at work. Then, they can set realistic expectations.
  • A strength-based goal setting process clarifies how an organization defines success and whether or not employees are achieving it. Workers who intentionally apply their strengths to their work significantly increase their odds of success.

Set Reasonable Goals

There’s nothing more frustrating than not knowing what’s expected of you. By providing your employees with weekly, monthly or quarterly goals and expectations, you enable them to manage their time effectively and optimize productivity.

  • Having well-defined expectations that cater to the specific strengths of an individual gives each person a clear idea how they can contribute to the betterment of their organization.
  • Aim for realistic goals. Don’t see the bar too high or too low. This is vital to your long-term success and productivity.
  • To support goal attainment, offer rewards and recognition. People thrive on competition, especially when there’s an incentive to perform.
  • Evaluate performance. If an employee is not meeting expectations, find out what’s holding them back. Then you can break down these barriers.

How to Communicate Expectations

Take these steps to effectively communicate employee expectations:

  • Describe what each individual is supposed to accomplish. This does not mean explaining expectations as a series of steps. Instead, define goals in terms of the outcomes an employee must achieve in order to reach them.
  • Discuss with each employee how they can use their strengths to achieve expectations. This helps managers understand how every team member can produce exceptional results – keeping in mind that there is rarely only one way to accomplish a task. This approach also helps build a positive emotional connection between employee and manager.
  • Initiate performance reviews with a list of strengths. This is more effective than reviewing a year of notes and observations. It shows that management understands each person individually, which enhances engagement and makes employees feel seen, understood and appreciated.
  • Offer regular feedback. Keep employees apprised of where they are and where they should be in terms of achieving expectations. When delivered the right way and for the right reason, constructive criticism is a powerful influencer. Employees want to be good at their jobs, they want to succeed, and they want to be acknowledged for their work.

The workforce management team at BrainWorks offers a wealth of insight and resources into employee goal-setting, motivation and productivity enhancement. Read our related posts or contact us to learn more.


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