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Defining Success: What is it good for?

4 Reasons for Why You Should Define Job Success

Have you ever been an employee or had an employee ask you, “Am I doing a good job?”  The manager may say something like, “I need you to be a better team player and communicate more.”  What does this mean exactly?  Too often, employees and their managers do not have a clear sense of what success looks like for a given role. If I ask you what does being a good communicator mean to you, you might say “talking more in meetings” and if I ask someone else, they might say “I need to think before I speak.” Somewhere along the line, the message gets lost.

Below, we present four reasons for why you should take the time to define the world of work in a consistent and measurable way.

Reason 1 – Universal Translator and Common Language

Describing jobs in a measurable and observable way helps everyone to have a clear picture of what success looks like.  It’s like on  Star Trek  when the enterprise meets a new group of aliens for the first time, they always seem to know what the aliens are saying. That’s because they have a universal translator. Organizations need a universal translator for describing successful performance for a job and across the entire organization. It could be competencies, or occupational standards, or other frameworks that describe work.

Reason 2 – Clear Expectations

Defining the requirements for successful performance helps employees to develop a clear sense of what is expected. Employees don’t have to wonder what they need to know and what they should be doing on the job.

Reason 3 – Engagement

By defining it, you can measure it. Employees can identify their strengths and developmental needs in terms of their current role. Often employees who do not feel like they have access to opportunities for learning and development may lack motivation or may decide to leave your organization. By defining the requirements for their role, employees can identify learning opportunities they would like to pursue to cultivate their skillset. They can even see if they have the knowledge, skills, and abilities required for success for other roles across the organization that they would like to transition into. This helps you to engage and retain your best people.

Reason 4 – Objective Decisions

Recruitment, hiring, placement, and promotion decisions are made much more objective when you take the time to define the requirements in a systematic way. Employees are hired, assessed, developed, and promoted based upon objective criteria rather than subjective preferences or unrelated factors such as seniority. This helps the truly qualified individual rise to the top and allows others to become qualified if they are willing to take advantage of available development opportunities.

Stay tuned for our next Blog on tips for how to describe work in a measurable way.