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Strong organizations understand that their most important asset is their employees. Without productive and competent employees, in the long-term organizations will fail. It’s essential for employers to establish clear expectations of their employees, yet it’s also important to understand that expectations are a two-way street. Let’s take a closer look.

Understanding Expectation Alignment

What is expectation alignment, exactly? It means that all involved parties understand what is expected of them, agree that those expectations are reasonable, and work toward fulfilling them to the best of their ability. For employees, it can determine whether  their expectations for their experiences in the workplace are understood and fulfilled. This can refer to compensation and benefits packages, hours, communication, company culture and workload. For employers,  expectation alignment can mean that employees are engaged, committed and performing their job responsibilities in a competent and timely manner. If there is a disconnect on either end, the company may experience higher turnover rates and lower employee productivity.

Setting the Stage Right From the Start

To better align expectations, it’s essential to manage expectations right from the hiring and onboarding processes. Employees should be made aware of exactly what will be expected of them in terms of performance and they should know precisely what they will receive from the company. And, be sure to ask questions so you understand their expectations, too. Hiring managers should look to fill vacant positions with individuals who are not only competent, understand the expectations and able to work with them, but also those who are eager to contribute to the overall company mission. Employees who are aligned with and invested in the mission are more likely to work hard to meet employer expectations.

Keeping the Lines of Communication Open

Proactively encourage open communication between managers and employees. Ongoing outreach and dialog, productive 1:1 conversations, standing touch base meetings and regularly scheduled performance reviews (not necessarily related to salary) are some ways to keep the lines of communication open and flowing. In addition, transparency in organizational decisions can fuel alignment. While this is not always feasible, the more open the flow of information, the less likely rumors will circulate, problems will be mitigated and expectations will remain more closely aligned. 

Don’t Wait Until It Is Too Late

During exit interviews, sometimes hiring managers discover that employees weren’t living up to expectations because they weren’t aware of what was expected of them. They may have assumed they were doing their job well. As performance indicators change and organizations evolve, employees must be kept in the loop, particularly regarding changing expectations. Use the information obtained to improve the feedback loop and communication.

Crosworks’ executive coaching services can enable your leadership to reach their full potential. By developing greater self-awareness and communication skills, your leadership team will be able to meet your employees where they are. Contact Crosworks today to schedule a consultation with one of our strategists.


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