A recent Gallup article found that only 50% of all employees “strongly agree that they know what’s expected of them”. Unclear employee expectations is a huge problem for many small businesses.

Clear employee expectations is a foundational driver for employee engagement and happiness. I’ve written about this before, but there is currently an employee engagement crisis in America with<33% of all employees indicating that they are engaged.

Employee engagement is the extent to which employees feel:

  • Passionate about their jobs
  • Committed to the organization
  • A desire to put discretionary effort into their work

Employee engagement is not the same as employee satisfaction

According to a recent study, improved engagement has real bottom line results

Employee Engagement

Gross Margin









As you can see, high employee engagement can have as much as a +2.06% profit improvement!

In other words, if you are a $10M company, improving your employee engagement could result in an incremental $206,000 net income!

Going from low to high, you could have as much as a $344,000 swing in profit.

How Does Employee Engagement Related To Employee Expectations?

Poorly communicated employee expectations has a real impact on your bottom line results.

This makes perfect sense. You are paying each of your employees to execute on your vision. If an employee is only 90% clear on what’s expected of them, then they are only applying 90% of their efforts towards realizing your vision.

How To Communicate Employee Expectations

Are you 100% positive that your employees know what’s expected of them? If not, here’s what to do next

Communication Your Vision (core values, core purpose and BHAG). Where are you leading your business over the next 5 years?

According to Gallup: “Understanding a company’s purpose helps employees answer yes to the question “Do I belong here?”

Gallup’s research shows that ensuring employees have opportunities to do what they do best every day and emphasizing mission and purpose are the two strongest factors for retaining Millennials, Generation Xers, and Baby Boomers.”

How Do You Communicate The Company Vision?

At Envisionable, we’ve developed a software tool that allows you to do this easily. Often, companies have core values and mission statements, but they are usually in a binder somewhere. With Envisionable, you can enter your core values, core purpose, BHAG and strategic anchors into one place and give your employees access to that information. You can even allow them to ask questions and get clarity around where you are taking the business.


Clarify Your Top 3-5 Company Goals for the next 12 months (or even the next quarter).

You need to have clarity at the top level so you can then communicate those goals with your broader team.

Once you’re sure everyone understands where you are taking the company by communicating your vision, you need to give each employee clarity regarding what the business is focused on short-term (within the next 12 months). This allows an employee to begin mapping their day to day responsibilities with the company goals. This process helps them to see how what they do every day helps the company succeed. 

Again, Envisionable makes this easy by allowing companies to enter their goals in an easy to use tool AND give everyone in the company visibility to those goals. Now everyone knows what the goals are and how the company is making progress on those goals. 


Meet With Each Employee To Clarify Their Top 3-5 Key Responsibilities  

This seems pretty obvious that each employee needs to know their key responsibilities, but often their is a mismatch between what leadership expects of an employee and what the employee “thinks” leadership expects. This mismatch is often the root cause of many performance problems and frustration. I see this happening in two steps. 

          (a) Define Key Responsibilities – Ask the employee to document what they think are their top 3 key responsibilities that you expect them to deliver. As a manager, you do the same and compare notes. This can be an eyeopening experience. 

          (b) Define the associated KPIs (key performance indicators) – KPIs are how you will measure each key responsibility and determine if performance standards are met.

Making sure each employee has clarity around how their performance is measure is a critical piece to employee happiness. Envisionable allows you to track all your KPIs, all in one place instead of using multiple spreadsheets, driving clarity and accountability. 


View A DEMO Of The Envisionable Platform Which Allows You To Easily Track Company Goals, Employee Goals And KPIs.

Of course this is a shameless plug, but at a minimum you can see what other companies are doing an how they are improving employee performance and engagement. What do you have to lose?