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6 Tips for Managing Employee Expectations

managing employee expectations or manage employee expectations

Managing employee expectations is a key function of business owners and managers. Staff members who have clearly defined roles and know what to expect are more likely to be satisfied with their work, stay in their jobs longer. Here are a few tips for setting and managing expectations to improve employee engagement and performance.

Start with recruitment

A crucial step in this process of managing employee expectations is creating a position description that sets out what their role in the company is. To help, consider looking at job descriptions for similar roles as advertised by other businesses and employment agencies. In addition to helping you attract and choose the right person, using an accurate job description will help you manage expectations. Moving the goal posts for staff without discussing it with team members can lead to resentment and decreased productivity. So if the role changes over time, communicate this with the employee to ensure they understand and are agreeable to the change. If you add more skills and responsibilities to a job, increase compensation to reflect this.

Use the onboarding process to manage employee expectations

In addition to introducing the company culture to new staff, onboarding is an important way to set expectations. If your business has written policies and procedures, give new staff a chance to become familiar with them and ask questions about anything they are unclear about. If you don’t have written policies and procedures that outline the expectations and tasks for each role, consider creating these. It can be a time-consuming process but will clearly set expectations. Having policies and procedures will also help to ensure business continuity if someone leaves suddenly or is no longer able to fulfill their role.

Communicate and align employee and business goals

Setting expectations to maximise employee performance requires clear goals. These, of course, will depend on the type of role. In sales roles, this can be clearly defined by the number of contacts and overall sales revenues. For other roles, it might not be as simple to define but can be connected to the most important tasks. Find ways to show how reaching personal targets helps the business overall.

Set clear expectations about the work environment and schedule

In some jobs, the working schedule can be flexible without hindering the business. Others are more rigid and not conducive to flexible working. For workers who can be more flexible, set clear expectations on what this means, including setting up times that enable all staff to engage and collaborate with each other. Set expectations for remote workers so that they can work closely with office-based staff. This could include setting times for group check-ins and project meetings. With more people in remote and flexible work, the lines between work and personal life have blurred. This raises the issue of the right to switch off from work. To learn more about this, see Right to Disconnect: What Does It Mean?

Keep the lines of communication open

Ongoing communication is vital to effectively set and manage expectations. If either an employee or manager doesn’t think expectations are being met, open communication will clear the air and make it possible to solve the problem. Communication could include informal one-on-one meetings to discuss any issues and formal performance reviews to measure performance against expectations. Online employee surveys are another way to gauge how closely employee expectations are being met. These surveys allow staff to remain anonymous so they can be more honest about their opinions. Using an online human resources solution, such as Officevibe, CultureAmp, or Lattice, can help you uncover any problems and monitor issues that need to be addressed. 

Recognise employees for their contributions

Although this is not part of their job description, employees expect to be recognised for their contributions to an organisation. Research by HubSpot revealed that 69 per cent of employees would work harder if they felt more appreciated. While many managers find it easy to offer feedback for improvement, they struggle to recognise staff and compliment them for doing their jobs well. Creating the right balance between constructive feedback and praise will help to manage employee expectations and decrease staff turnover. 

While you might not be able to implement all of these steps at once, you can start with a few of these to manage employee expectations to increase satisfaction, motivation and longevity.


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