Tips: Setting Clear Expectations and Goals

The FACE of Performance model is based on continuous, ongoing conversations between employees and supervisors that keep us focused on achieving our organization’s goals. In order for employees to contribute to the attainment of the organization’s goals, it is important that supervisors set clear expectations and share them with each employee. When a supervisor sets clear expectations about the results that must be achieved and the methods or approaches needed to achieve them, you establish a path for success.


Setting performance expectations first requires planning. The more time you invest on the front end, the more effective you and your employee’s time will be. Before you can talk to any of your employees about what you expect of their performance, you will need to have a clear understanding of:

  • What your supervisor expects of you and your team.
  • How the work of your employees contributes to the larger work of Pinellas County.
  • Each employee’s job responsibilities.
  • What specific performance expectations apply to each employee’s position.

As you think about the performance expectations for your employee, you can apply a SMART approach.

PrincipleWhat It MeansThings to Discuss
SpecificYou are clear on exactly what is expected.What? When? Where? Who? Why? How?
MeasurableIt is possible to determine whether what is expected has been achieved.
There is a way to measure it.
How many?
How much time?
How frequent?
How well?
AttainableThe expectations of work performance can be realistically achieved.How might factors outside your control have an impact on the employee’s work performance?

Does the employee have the skills/resources to achieve what you need?
RelevantThe expectations are within the parameters of what the employee should be doing at work.Is it consistent with their role and connected to your team / division / department?
Time focusedThere is a specific timeframe or deadline.When does it need to be done by?
When will it be completed?


When having a conversation about performance expectations with an employee, be sure to:

  • Explain how the work supports the team / division / department.
  • Be specific and clear about what is expected.
  • Discuss any areas of particular focus for the next quarter.
  • Ask clarifying questions.
  • Ask if the employee has any goals for the upcoming quarter. These will often be in the area of learning and development. You can apply the SMART approach to these as well.

Provide Feedback

When giving feedback about performance expectations be sure to:

  • State what the agreed upon expectation was.
  • Provide your observations (it’s best if these are your direct observations).
  • Assess whether the expectation was achieved or not.
  • Explain the rewards or consequences.