Understanding your employee expectations is just as crucial as setting your own. Your team holds specific ideals about how your organization and its leaders should operate, and if these expectations go unmet, they might start exploring alternative employment opportunities. The repercussions of employee turnover are substantial, ranging from 16 to 213% of an individual’s annual salary. Now is the opportune moment to assess your company’s existing approaches and ensure they align with the expectations your employees have.
Unveiling Employee Expectations: A Comprehensive Exploration
When employees enter into an employment agreement, they hold fundamental expectations from their employers. These include receiving a fair wage on time, effective training, a safe work environment, clear communication of company policies, well-defined roles and responsibilities, and constructive and fair feedback. These expectations, often legally mandated, lay the groundwork for a business to evolve and progress toward establishing itself as a paragon of brand equity. In return, employers anticipate loyalty from their workforce.
‘Great to Have’ Expectations
For employees seeking more than just a paycheck, there exists a set of elevated expectations:
- Exceptional Onboarding: Studies show that inadequate onboarding leads to a significant number of employees leaving within the initial months of employment. A robust onboarding process, extending beyond the first few days, ensures that new hires understand their roles, integrate into the organizational culture, and align with their teams over an extended period, up to a year.
- Cultivating a Great Workplace Culture: Modern employees seek meaningful growth within a positive cultural milieu. A staggering 88% of job seekers and 94% of entrepreneurs believe that a healthy work culture is indispensable for business success. Cultivating such a culture has a more substantial impact on employee retention than salary and benefits.
- Work-Life Balance: Acknowledging the prevalence of burnout, companies emphasizing work-life balance by offering flexible hours, remote work options, or hybrid models create an environment where employees are less likely to seek alternative employment.
- Exceptional Managers: The adage “People don’t leave businesses, they leave managers” holds true. Employees under effective management are more likely to stay loyal, fostering a workplace where great leaders inspire enduring commitment.
- Opportunities for Growth: In an era where career progression is highly valued, companies that provide avenues for professional development attract and retain talent. Employees making career strides are 20% more likely to remain with their current employer.
- Recognition: Acknowledging and appreciating employee contributions through robust recognition programs significantly reduces turnover rates. Statistics indicate that 80% of employees would exert more effort if their contributions were adequately recognized.
- Creating an exceptional employee experience, coupled with due recognition, not only reduces turnover but also boosts engagement. Over time, this positive workplace reputation attracts top talent and ensures satisfied, returning customers, bolstering the overall profitability of the business.
Anticipating Future Employee Expectations
The landscape of work underwent a profound shift during the 2020 pandemic, necessitating new mindsets, attitudes, and priorities. Forward-thinking companies recognize the imperative to adapt to evolving employee expectations and societal values:
- Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging: A diverse workforce fosters unique perspectives, respects individual needs, and propels every employee toward their professional potential. Employers are now expected to create flexible working environments, cultivate diverse teams, and actively address unconscious bias and workplace discrimination.
- Wellbeing: The pandemic underscored the physical, mental, and emotional challenges faced by employees. Prioritizing employee wellbeing in strategic planning is essential for the current and future health of the workforce. Employers are now expected to support physical, mental, financial, and social wellbeing through sustainable and rewarding initiatives.
- Authenticity: Remote work exposed the personal lives of employees, challenging traditional notions of professionalism. While not everyone may embrace this level of transparency, organizations should anticipate a shift in employee expectations regarding bringing their whole selves to work.
- Workplace Flexibility: Remote work, once an exception, became a necessity. As a result, employees now anticipate more flexible workplace policies, including options to work from home several days a week or tailor their workdays to align with personal schedules.
- Greater Connection with Colleagues: The pandemic fostered a sense of global collaboration, transcending cultural boundaries. Employees now expect continued global connectivity, collaborating with colleagues across time zones.
The implications of future employee expectations are transformative. Workplaces that prioritize diversity, inclusion, and employee wellbeing are not only more productive and reputable but also excel in talent retention. The increased global connectivity presents a vast talent pool, promising exciting possibilities for business growth and success. Embracing these evolving expectations positions companies as leaders in a dynamic and forward-thinking work environment.
Navigating Employee Expectations: Strategies for Success
Fulfilling employee expectations is not only about addressing current needs but also proactively preparing for the future. Here are practical steps to achieve this:
Seek Direct Feedback
Scenario: During a team meeting, encourage open discussions where employees can share their expectations and concerns.
Real-life Example: A tech company conducts weekly “open door” sessions, allowing employees to voice their expectations regarding work processes, tools, and team dynamics.
Utilize Formal Listening Mechanisms
Scenario: Implement regular surveys to gauge employee satisfaction and expectations.
Real-life Example: A retail chain employs quarterly engagement surveys to understand evolving employee expectations. Questions range from work-life balance to growth opportunities.
Act on Feedback
Scenario: After collecting feedback, take tangible steps based on the insights gained.
Real-life Example: An advertising agency, after discovering through a survey that employees desired more flexible work hours, introduced a policy allowing staggered work hours to accommodate individual preferences.
Continuously Measure and Adjust
Scenario: Periodically reassess employee expectations to stay attuned to evolving needs.
Real-life Example: A manufacturing company employs 360-degree surveys annually to measure performance expectations. The data informs strategic adjustments, ensuring the company aligns with employee expectations.
Managing Employee Expectations
Effectively managing employee expectations involves aligning your team with your company’s cultural values. Here’s how, with real-life scenarios:
Emphasize Cultural Values
Scenario: Reinforce the importance of core values during team meetings and communications.
Real-life Example: A finance firm integrates core values discussions into weekly team meetings, fostering a shared understanding of the company’s foundational principles.
Address Subcultural Differences
Scenario: Identify and bridge gaps between the ideal cultural values and existing subcultures within the organization.
Real-life Example: An international consultancy, during a period of organizational restructuring, conducted workshops to bridge cultural gaps among diverse teams and foster a more cohesive working environment.
Leverage Remote Work Opportunities
Scenario: Use remote work transitions to unite employees around the organization’s core values.
Real-life Example: A software development company, transitioning to remote work, organized virtual team-building events centered around the company’s core values, fostering a sense of unity among geographically dispersed teams.
Foster Organizational Improvement
Scenario: View remote work as an opportunity to enhance organizational culture.
Real-life Example: A healthcare organization, amidst the shift to remote work, implemented virtual town hall meetings to address employee concerns and reinforce the company’s commitment to its cultural values.
By actively seeking and incorporating feedback, addressing subcultural disparities, and leveraging unique opportunities such as remote work transitions, organizations can not only meet but exceed employee expectations, ultimately fostering a more resilient and united workforce.
In 2024, meeting employee expectations is critical for a resilient workforce. Foundational and elevated expectations, coupled with future considerations, demand proactive strategies. Elevating workplace practices, fostering inclusivity, and adapting to evolving needs are key. Real-life examples demonstrate practical implementation, ensuring organizations not only meet but surpass expectations, fostering lasting success.