5 Ways to Prevent Employee Scope Creep
As the founder and CEO of a company, I know how frustrating it can be when an employee does not do what he or she is hired to do. While it is important to provide an environment where employee autonomy occurs, it can backfire when an employee evolves the job into something somewhat or completely different than what the employee was hired to do. We call this “employee scope creep”.
In project management, "scope creep" is a term that describes changes in a plan or project that leads to other changes which in turn leads to even more changes.
“Employee scope creep” occurs when an employee slowly makes changes in their job accountability's and eventually changes their role within a company. It is not always a bad thing, but more often than not has a negative impact on the company because what needs to normally done in the employee's job is not getting done.
Let’s be clear. Employee scope creep occurs because you, the CEO / manager, allows it to happen.
Following is an actual example of how employee scope creep occurred with a client's team member.
Several months ago, we advised that a client bring in a seasoned sales manager. When a candidate came along that had impeccable experience, our client was quick to hire. Unfortunately, the candidate lacked the proper job fit.
Six months after the hire, it is clear a mistake was made. The new “sales manager” is doing everything but managing sales. The new sales manager is doing exactly what we expected him to be doing based upon his assessment results, and he is not focused on sales. Instead he is putting out “fires” when he should be holding low sales performers accountable for sales performance.
Why does employee scope creep happen?
- Poor Job Fit.
- Expectations for the job are not clearly defined.
- Performance is not measured or reviewed often enough.
- Team members are not held accountable.
I have walked into many companies and asked people what they do and then looked at their job titles and job descriptions only to find that what they are actually doing is far outside of what they are supposed to be doing.
Here is what you can do to prevent employee scope creep:
- Maximize Job Fit – Hire the right employee team member in the first place. If you are not using a Job Benchmark in combination with a valid pre-employment personality assessment like the TriMetrix® HD - you gambling and the risk of employee scope creep increases tremendously.
- Set expectations and measure employee performance. Create and use an employee performance scorecard. Make sure the employee team member is held accountable for doing what is on their "dashboard".
- Provide Fast Feedback Loops – Meet with employee team members monthly (Rainmaker 331) to review employee performance - particularly the actions leading to results.
High performing companies hire the best talent possible, ensure they know what they are supposed to be doing, and provide periodic performance feedback. Do this, and you will ensure that your employees – especially managers are doing what they were hired to do.