Managing Employees’ Expectations

05 Aug

By: CEC Newsroom

CEC News / Newsroom

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Written by Miss Sheena Bradshaw
Labour Management Advisor
Barbados Employers’ Confederation

Human Resources professionals and management teams often face the difficult circumstances of incompatible employee expectations. This occurs when your employees’ expectations do not align with the reality of the business philosophies, ideologies and culture. Mismatched expectations can be severely damaging, to a Company’s image or brand, it’s ability to attract new business and to new talent. It also impacts on the bottom-line as the company incurs additional recruitment and time-to-hire costs, training costs and company resources are utilized in the process. Effectively, setting employees’ expectations is an indispensable component of successfully leading and managing a team, in addition to developing a culture of accountability. A poll conducted by Gallup found that only half of employees globally strongly agree that they are aware of what is expected of them at work because managers do not frequently communicate their expectations or communicate them well enough to influence their staff members. Quoting Marco Nink, senior practice expert at Gallup, “to free employees to take initiative and inspire high performance, managers need to set clear expectations, hold employees accountable for meeting them and respond quickly when employees need support.” Having clear expectations reduces confusion, misunderstandings, exasperation, bitterness, damaged feelings, futile conflict, as well as costly mistakes and rework. With clear expectations, employees understand the reasons behind the tasks they are assigned and are more motivated to problem solve when needed to achieve goals. The solution…try these three approaches to managing employee expectations:

1. Recruitment

While we all want to engage the best candidates to fill an open position, not letting them in on the challenges or struggles affecting the Company and position can lead to a culture shock and disconnect down the road. Therefore, it is advisable to give new hires and job candidates a realistic view of what the job will be like; showing both the positives and the negatives so the candidate can get a real feel for what skills and qualifications are needed to be successful on the job. Your candidate will become aware of your initial expectations and it empowers them to determine if the position fits into their career path. Written by Miss Sheena Bradshaw Labour Management Advisor Barbados Employers’ Confederation Managing Employees’ Expectations ©Copyright, 2019, Barbados Employers’ Confederation

2. Orientation Program

When was the last time you reviewed your orientation program? Do you ensure that all new-hires complete onboarding activities? These documented values form the basis of who you are as a company, what you stand for and value, how you do business and what purpose you are pushing for. By communicating this to new employees, you will begin to implant that culture and set employee expectations straight.

3. Communication

When delegating assignments, one should focus on some communication basics, such as being specific about what needs to be accomplished. When meeting to discuss expectations with the employee, begin by talking through the overall plan and objectives. The employee should have a good understanding of why the task is important to the business and how it fits into broader organizational goals. You must also listen carefully and respectfully to what the employee is telling you. This interaction will help build trust and synergy related to the task by showing that the employee’s talents and ideas are valuable.

It also sets the stage to solve problems constructively. By maintaining a productive, twoway conversation, you will be better able to coach and mentor employees through tough situations. Also, set-out the tasks specific to accomplishing the assignment. Help the employee set priorities and goals for their work; considering the employee’s current workload, skills, and developmental needs.

Include all the information the employee needs to successfully complete the task, such as the anticipated outcome, who is responsible and when the work must be completed. Always set specific dates and times to check-up on your employees’ progress before ending these conversations.

You will want updates on each employee’s successes, challenges, and status with the assignment, to avoid unpleasant surprises. When you set expectations and delegate effectively, your employees will not be the only beneficiaries. It positions you to better manage your own time and talents, but it necessitates the habit of managing the demands of the daily tasks, with coaching your employees.

©Copyright, 2019, Barbados Employers’ Confederation