Roles & Responsibilities Graphic

This is an in-depth guide on Gallup’s first element of employee engagement:

This first element is a basic need for employees: “I know what is expected of me at work.”

The above statement seems straightforward and one that most people should be able to agree with confidently. But you might be surprised how many employees are fuzzy on exactly what their role is, often through no fault of their own.

Ensuring employees know what is expected of them goes beyond a basic job description or daily to-do list. Meeting this element of employee engagement requires clear and ongoing communication across the board.

This first element is a basic need for employees.

If an employee cannot agree with this statement, it is impossible for them to succeed in their role.

Learn more about the importance of this engagement element and how to ensure your employees know your expectations.

The Importance of Communicating Expectations

The importance of clearly communicating expectations may seem obvious, but many companies and managers neglect to do it anyway.

Even if you already know that communicating expectations is important, you might not realize just how important and far-reaching.

Day to Day Responsibilities

First, and likely the most obvious reason element #1 is important, employees need to know what they’re supposed to do daily. While some leaders may assume that certain responsibilities are implicit, everything must be explicitly stated.

When daily duties are unclear, things slip through the cracks. Employees turn a blind eye, assuming the task doesn’t fall under their duties. And when you ask an employee to do something they do not believe is part of their responsibilities, it creates tension and confusion. Employees may even point fingers at one another, making for an unpleasant work environment.

Ultimately, when you don’t properly communicate daily expectations, things don’t get done, and no company can function like that.

Role in the Organization

Workplace expectations aren’t just about tangible tasks. Workers also need to know where they stand with the company.

  • Am I a manager?
  • Do I oversee any other employees?
  • What is my title?
  • Who should I report to?

Any employee who agrees with engagement element #1 should be able to answer all these questions easily. They need to know their position in the company’s hierarchy to follow and give orders appropriately.

When expectations are not communicated, employees may unknowingly step outside their defined role. Clearly defining someone’s role within an organization not only helps them but also their coworkers.

For example, if you rely on one of your four accountants to manage the other three, that accountant needs a title that distinguishes them from the others. This prevents employee frustration and hostility.