In today’s modern work environment, it’s more important than ever for companies to stay on top of employer and employee expectations. Human resources are vital in ensuring both groups are kept happy and productive.
When it comes to workplace expectations, employers and employees are often on different pages. In some cases, they’re reading entirely different chapters. In fact, mismatched expectations are one of the leading causes of tension and conflict in the workplace. So, what can HR professionals do to align these expectations better and create a more harmonious workplace?
For instance, compensation matters because employers need good benchmarking tools to understand what their industry and competitors are paying. But money is not the only factor in attracting and retaining talent. Organisations also need to appreciate the importance that employees place on their work, their hours, time off and their relationships with their direct managers.
Understanding everyone’s expectations
The first step to effectively managing the different types of employer and employee expectations is understanding them. Employer expectations can be divided into two broad categories: job performance and personal conduct.
Job performance expectations are relatively straightforward – employers expect employees to complete their work tasks satisfactorily and on time. Personal conduct expectations are more nebulous but generally relate to an employer’s expectations for how an employee will behave inside and outside work.
Employee expectations, on the other hand, can be divided into three categories: those related to job duties, those related to working conditions, and those related to compensation. Job duties expectations are similar to employer performance expectations – employees expect to be given precise task requirements and adequate resources to complete them satisfactorily.
Working conditions expectations relate to the physical and emotional environment of the workplace – employees expect a safe and comfortable work environment where they feel respected by their colleagues. Compensation expectations are also similar to employer expectations – employees expect to be fairly compensated for their work, in line with industry norms.
Once you understand the different types of employer and employee expectations, you can start to identify areas of mismatched expectations that may be causing tension in your workplace. It can be helpful to conduct regular surveys or interviews with employees to get feedback on what they feel are the most critical expectations from their job.
Strategies to align expectations
Once you understand the areas where expectations are mismatched, you can develop strategies to align them better. There are a few key strategies that HR professionals can use to achieve this level of alignment:
1. Be clear about job requirements and expectations from the outset
One of the best ways to avoid mismatched expectations is to be clear about job requirements and expectations from the outset. When posting job ads, make sure to include a detailed list of required qualifications and duties. During the interview, take the time to detail the expectations for the role with candidates. And finally, when extending job offers, include a written job description outlining the expectations for the position.
2. Set realistic expectations
It’s crucial to set realistic expectations for both employers and employees. If an employer expects an employee to work 60 hours per week, but the employee is only available for 40 hours, there will inevitably be tension. Similarly, if an employee is expecting a promotion after six months, but the employer isn’t planning on offering one until after 12 months, there will also be tension. By setting realistic expectations from the outset, you can avoid these mismatches.
3. Communicate regularly
Another key strategy for aligning employer and employee expectations is to communicate regularly. This means setting up regular check-ins with employees to discuss how they’re meeting their job requirements and what changes they need to make. It also means being open to feedback from employees about their expectations and how well they feel the company is living up to them.
3. Be flexible
Finally, it’s essential to be flexible regarding employer and employee expectations. Things change, and sometimes the expectations people set at the outset no longer make sense. For example, if an employer suddenly needs an employee to start working weekends, they should be willing to adjust their expectations accordingly. Similarly, if an employee’s personal circumstances change and they can no longer work the hours they initially agreed to, the employer should be willing to be flexible.
4. Provide examples of why expectations are important
Offer concrete examples as to why you’ve set certain expectations, and explain to your team how these expectations connect to the ‘big-picture’ goals of the company:
- Being on time for work ensures operations run smoothly.
- Adhering to the dress code casts the company in a professional light among customers.
- Displaying a positive attitude at work helps employees deal with stress and keeps morale up.
5. Get an agreement and commitment
Formalise the expectations by requiring employees to sign off on them. When employees sign off on your expectations, it makes them feel more serious. If they don’t meet your expectations, you will have the documentation to hold them accountable and make a case of how they have fallen short of the agreement.
Aligning employee and employer expectations allows both parties to thrive in a workplace that meets everyone’s emotional and career needs alongside the company’s goals. All in all, both parties will benefit when there is harmony between the expectations.
Expect the best. Prepare for the greatest!
At MASA, we take our hiring and recruitment strategies seriously and have done so as industry leaders for the past40-plus years. So, why not partner with us to ensure you find the most suitable candidates whilst focusing on your business? Allow the MASA HR & IR specialists to help you effectively handle your employer and employee needs.