Managing expectations produces employee satisfaction. Aligning expectations produces loyalty.
It is well known that great leaders are good at handling employee expectations. It makes sense. However, not sure in this complex modern communication world, if this is really true in today’s life as much more communication is needed.
For years, employees only had access to one or two employment choices. That was it. An employer could set expectations for its employees and demand they be followed with strictness. After all, what else could the employees do? Where could they go?
The power dynamic between employers and employees shifted with the internet bang of the early 2000s. For the first time, employees had options, now, it’s not good enough to just manage expectations and demand obedience. You now have to do better when addressing expectations. After all, employees have an important point of influence within the relationship – they can always leave.
Nowadays thanks to social media, employees know what is happening at competing companies even if those companies are miles away. Expectations are now formed by everyone everywhere.
Survey data tell us that nearly half of employees feel that manager’s expectations are often not clearly spelled out. Now as a leader, do your employees know what is expected from them? Are your expectations realistic? Have you communicated them clearly?
So, successful leaders must align those expectations not only manage them. How do we do that? There are three key ways you can go about creating expectation alignment within your group or team:
- Know your people.
As a leader, your aim should be to focus on building the right employee experience and on those relationships that really matter in achieving your business objectives, because it is not possible to be able to align every expectation. I call this list of key relationships your “relationship grid”.
- Look for where expectation gaps exist.
What is an expectation gap? It is the one that exists between the expectations that are shaped and how people trust those expectations have been met with. Every relationship has some gaps. It is important to identify them what is their nature? their causes? will discuss below what you are going to do with these gaps.
- Bridge those expectation gaps.
Alignment can take place through trainings, discussions, employee management plan, and performance reviews. Perhaps Millennials might be the first to argue the need for tougher performance in this field of expectation alignment. They have grown up in an age of data excess. They appreciate the value of taking time to distil massive amounts of information into what is vital.
Aligning expectations can be rewarded with trustworthiness and failing to do so can be very costly. Basically, in today’s world losing the talent you desperately need to compete and win is vital hence managing expectations is the key to healthy workplace and business.