Employee Expectations

4 Ways to Manage

Corporate Therapy for employees
Employee Expectation management is both: easy & hard

The problem of unrealistic employee expectations is as old as the concept of the workplace itself. There is no problem in employees having expectations. But there is a problem in managing them. After all, happiness at work depends on whether the high hopes of employees are under-met, met, or exceeded. How? 4 ways discussed below.


1. Underpromise. Overdeliver

If there was 1 thing HRD’s get wrong in employee expectation management, this would be the one. HR makes promises, and they keep them. This should make employees happy, right? Not at all. The formula for employee happiness is simple: happiness equals expectations plus extra. For this very reason, it is important to leave room for the extra, or, in other words, to underpromise so that you can overdeliver. Still having doubts? Consider this: if your significant other said they were going to pick you up in a Porsche, which would make you happier - them coming in a Porsche, or them coming in a Ferrari? Like we said...


2. KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid

There is a lot of misalignment in employee expectations vs. employer promises due to one simple reason. And the reason is interpretation. The employer said it was going to be fun, and now someone has to eat all those donuts while on a diet. It doesn’t have to be donuts, it doesn’t even have to be food, but the message is all the same. It is important to keep promises stupid simple and leave no room for interpretation. So, if it is donuts, don’t call them a fun Friday. Just call them, you know, donuts.


3. Make a “Never” List. And Make It Public

Seriously, why do employees have to make the mistake to hear the famous we never do that phrase after they make the mistake? It really is a downer, to be honest. Why not save everyone’s time & money instead, and make a list of those things you never do here? Oh, and don’t forget to make it public. This should save some time in employee expectation management.


4. Don’t Keep Your Door Open. Open Others’ Doors Instead

We’re all guilty of this workplace expectation crime. If someone is not happy with what is, they should pay HR a visit on an open door day, right? Problem is: rarely anyone does. So, how about HR’s knock on employees doors instead? Asking simple open-ended questions works like magic in employee expectation management. Try and see.


Once again: keep your expectations simple stupid, make a public list of what you do NOT expect instead of listing everything you do expect, underpromise, overdeliver. And don’t shy away from expectation questions.