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Work Planning

The goal of work planning is for supervisors and staff members to achieve a common understanding of the staff member's work goals and expected results. A work plan is also the basis for two-way feedback and coaching through the year. Used effectively, a work plan can achieve clarity and understanding between the supervisor and the staff member.

All non-instructional staff in LSA are expected to develop a work plan in discussion with the supervisor. The work plan outlines key areas of responsibility for the position held by the employee and sets out specific goals for that work for the coming year. Employees can use whatever format they prefer for the work plan; a template is provided to show the essential content of a work plan. Once created, the work plan should be reviewed and updated at least twice a year. Hands-on training is provided by the College to assist employees in understanding the concept of such a work plan. The goal of work planning is for supervisors and staff members to achieve a common understanding of the staff member’s work goals and expected results. A work plan is also the basis for two-way feedback and coaching through the year. Used effectively, a work plan can achieve clarity and understanding between the supervisor and the staff member on three things:

  • What are the core elements of my job?
  • What work goals should have priority for the coming year?
  • What progress am I making in accomplishing these goals?

Underlying these is also the most important question of “…and why am I doing it?” Supervisors can help answer this, by clarifying the purpose, direction, and goals of your unit, as well as the larger organization to which you may belong. This is particularly important during organizational changes and changes in the way in which tasks are accomplished.

In developing a work plan, follow the following process:

  • Consider the purpose, vision, and business goals (including core work) of your organization and your unit. 
  • Discuss how these integrate with the overall job goal of your position. The overall job goal formula is: The (job title) is responsible for (what) (why).

Planning and managing work is through developing prioritized or weighted key areas of responsibility (KAR’s). Between 5 and 7 KARs is a good number to avoid too much or too little detail. KARs are brief phrases to describe major categories of work in a job. These core responsibilities are likely to remain fairly constant from year to year in many positions but can be easily updated if responsibilities change. A mandatory KAR for every LSA staff member is “Perform as an effective member of the work group, assuming an appropriate role and level of responsibility.”

Developing job goals is the third element of a work plan. A goal is a written statement of what you expect to accomplish within a specific period of time. Several goals can be listed under a key area of responsibility, if appropriate. A simple goal formula is (verb) (what). Example: Decrease response time for service requests. It helps to consider different types of goals: maintenance goals are work outcomes that continue from one year to the next; developmental goals signal that you (or your supervisor) have identified an area improvement is needed; innovative goals are new challenges and expansions of your work that you want to take on for the coming year.

(Optional) In some cases it may be helpful to expand the goal by noting a measurable objective for the goal. Simply put, this is specific criteria to measure success in meeting the goal at the end of the year. Example: By May 1st, decrease response time for service requests from 72 hours to 24 hours for urgent requests and from 2 weeks to 1 week for non-urgent requests.

(Optional) For particularly difficult goals it may be helpful to develop an action plan, which is a list of tasks or activities that will be undertaken to achieve the goal. A formula for developing an action plan is: who will do what, when, with what resources.