I wrote earlier this month about managing expectations – specifically, customer expectations. As I was wrapping up the post, I mentioned the same is true for employees. We need to manage their expectations as well.
For example, when you have a new employee (or someone being transferred/promoted into a new position), give them the full 411 on their new job: how much they will make, what their job title will be, when they should be at work, where they should report, and what they will do. People want to know that kind of stuff. I once worked for a company that was hiring people so fast, they didn’t have time to tell you your job title. You got it when you showed up on your first day. How do you think that employee felt after they quit their job, showed up for work and got a job title they didn’t want? Yes, it was ugly.
Then, communicate your performance expectations and train employees to your standard. Servers are a great example. I’ve been to restaurants where the company standard is to call all of the customers “guys” – as in “Hi guys!”, “Thanks for stopping in guys!”, “Are you guys ready to order?” Let’s say a server from this restaurant lands a job at a fancier place, where the patrons are not refereed to as “guys”. Well, that employee needs to understand this change in expectation.
Next, let employees know how they’re doing. If they’re doing great…tell them. And, if there are a few things they need to work on…tell them that too. Don’t forget – you need to give them training on how to do it right.
Now this concept doesn’t just apply to new employees. Even employees with a lot of tenure need to have their expectations managed. Think about those times when a new policy, procedure, or program is put into place. Employees need to know the details – in advance. Have you ever seen an employee’s face when a manager explains a new policy was put into place 3 weeks ago and they will provide the details at the next staff meeting? I have. And, my eyes glaze over just like the employee’s.
Lastly, manage expectations with employees by letting them know what you’re all about (meaning what you stand for). For example, I’ve always been fanatical about confidentiality. I believe employees appreciate and take comfort in knowing their personal info, pay data, benefits, etc. is properly maintained and secured. But how would my staff know that confidentiality is my priority if I didn’t tell them? Osmosis??
In the end, managing employee expectations isn’t rocket-science. It’s all about communication. Employees will perform better when you set the level of expectation, communicate it clearly, and manage to it. Not to mention that it will make your life a whole lot easier.0