Clarifying Expectations – Part 2

Do You Want To Be a Tree Planter?

Being Clear About Role Expectations – Part II

By Dona Baker, Whyworks

In Part I of this two-part series, I wrote that we really need to be clear when explaining the roles in our organization. Most importantly by describing the main focus of the job and what a person needs to have for knowledge, skills, abilities and other attributes (KSAOs) to do their role successfully.

For example, I know the President of a tree planting company that reforests large tracts of wilderness that have been logged or burned by fires.

He paints a vivid picture of Tree Planters in his company by saying people in the role need to be two things overall – physically fit and mentally resilient.

Clarifying Expectations - Tree Planter

He gives each candidate the following story:

“Our Tree Planters work in harsh, remote conditions. It’s often wet and cold because you’re sleeping in a tent. Soap is a luxury. There are no bathrooms or showers for miles and miles and miles.

You’re paid by the piece (tree) you plant. Which means you don’t make very much money the first year. You have to learn the rhythm of planting and build up your fitness. It involves an economy of movement, so you can plant as fast as possible with the least wear and tear on your body.

You also have to be an enthusiastic and collaborative problem solver. Tree planters work in teams. If something goes wrong, you have to work together to solve the issue. The team’s safety and wellbeing depends on each member being equally up for the challenges (weather, bears, illness etc.) you are going to run into.”

Those candidates who know they don’t have the skills, energies or mental fortitude for the work, usually back out immediately. Interviews and assessments are then used to evaluate the much smaller number of candidates who are left.

People who act as “lone wolves” or who crumble emotionally in the face of adversity are hazards. They get weeded out early in the selection process before they ever make it out to a remote work site.

So, I asked you in the subject line, “Would you like to be a tree planter?” I imagine now that I have explained the job, you can easily tell me “yes” or “no”. There likely won’t be that many “maybe’s”.

That’s the power of being clear about what you really need a person to do in the job. You raise the chances of attracting the right candidates, the first time. This also helps make for happier, more productive and longer-lasting employees.

Want to learn more about defining the KSAOs of roles in your organization? Set up a free discovery call with me or a member of my team.

We will help you create and implement a plan, that keeps helps your organization to stay on the path of success.

Dona Baker, Whyworks