Solomon Bruce Consulting Blog

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Set clear expectations BEFORE the work begins!

  The idea of setting clear work expectations before a new employee begins work is paramount to success in any business, especially in today's work environment.  My neighbor is a business owner in a health related industry.  His daughter is home from college for the summer.  Along with the daughter, her boyfriend came along to work with my neighbor in his business because jobs for college students are tough, he did not want to be away from his girlfriend all summer and most importantly, he had the requisite skills needed by my neighbor's business.
   As my neighbor was telling me about this project, I asked him if he had identified clear goals and expectations for his new "professional" employee.  My neighbor has several employees who work for him, however, this is the first time that he has had a "professional" employee who helps him in the office doing a wide variety of administrative and managerial tasks.  Interestingly, my neighbor said NO, he had not yet established clear goals and expectations for his new "professional" employee, however, that was a task that needed to be done.  I shared with my neighbor that identifying clear goals and expectations was the first step with today's millennial generation employees.  Millennial generation employees want to have a clear definition of the task, the goal and most importantly, how they are performing with the various tasks.
   It is important for any employee to know what the goals and expectations are before they begin to work.  However, what is more significant and important in this scenario is the fact that the "professional" employee is the owner's daughter's boyfriend----- and perhaps, may become the owner's future son-in-law at some future date.  Experiencing hard feelings, misunderstandings, and frustration at this point does no one any service.
   There is some difference with hiring a close family friend (boyfriend) and just another employee.  However, what is not different is the fact that clear goals and expectations need to be established, understood and agreed to BEFORE any significant work commences.  The reason here is multi-purpose.  When everyone on the team knows what the goals are, then there is little room for misunderstanding and "not knowing".  However, if you have not clearly defined the goals, expectations and work product results, then there is only one individual who is to blame-- that is the individual that you see when looking in the mirror!
   It makes no difference if you have a summer employee or a permanent employee, clearly identify the goals, expectations and final work products BEFORE you turn the new employee loose on the company!  You will do yourself, the employee as well as the firm a great service.  Everyone will know what is to be done, how the task is to be done and what the final product(s) are to look like.  That way, no one will be surprised!!
   An added ancillary benefit, especially if the employee is a close family friend or family member is the lack of hard feelings and frustration when something inevitably goes wrong.


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