How to Communicate Employee Expectations Effectively

In any relationship, communication is key, and that includes the employee – supervisor relationship.  Good communication can impact all aspects of your company.  In particular, when you are implementing an employee review process, you need to be able to communicate what you expect of your employees.

Have Regular Conversations

One of the ways you can convey your expectations to your employees is to have regular conversations.  Regular conversations help build a familiarity between you and your employees.  They feel more comfortable talking to you, and asking questions.  Questions lead to better performance, and thus bigger productivity in the company.  Employees who feel comfortable talking to their supervisors, also feel comfortable expressing any problems that they may be having.  The ability to express those issues can save that employee from quitting their job.  Job turnover is a major expense for any company. When an employee abandons their position, productivity lessens.  Either there is no employee who can fill that position, or additional employee resources have to be stretched to bridge the gap.  

State What’s Working

We talked earlier about giving constructive criticism.  While constructive criticism is important, positive feedback is equally as important.  There is no employee who wants to be told only the things they are doing wrong. Employees do need to hear what they should work on improving, but telling them what they are doing well is crucial to the success of the employee and company as a whole. Employees who are recognized for their achievements are generally driven to do better and better.  Here are some examples of positive feedback:

  • Suzie, I want to take a moment to thank you for taking ownership of the project you worked on yesterday.  It was evident that you put a lot of thought and effort into it.
  • Hey, Great work today Sam!
  • I am so glad to have a team member like you, I know that the team can rely on you.
  • Thank you so much for your hard work.
  • I value your opinion on this issue.
  • Your work has really impressed me!

Be Honest

According to a survey taken by Careerlink, 90% of the employees surveyed wanted more honesty from their supervisors. It’s common to want to sugar coat or omit certain items when giving feedback to your employees, but they respond better to honesty, and can detect deceit better than you think.  We have all lied, and most of us are fairly good at detecting a lie when we hear one.  It’s important for you to remember that your employees see you daily.  Most of them will know you well enough to see if there are inconsistencies.  You don’t want to put your employees in a position where they have to worry if their supervisor is being honest with them or not.  Employees who feel like their supervisor isn’t honest can feel like they don’t have job security.  That job security is important because it keeps employees in their job positions rather than feeling like they may have to jump ship if things become very unstable. When managers are not honest with their employees, productivity may slow down, engagement decreases, and job retention decreases.  In the end, honesty is the best policy you can implement for your employees!

Provide Mentoring

There’s an old saying, ‘lead by example.’  A great way to communicate your expectations with your employees is to mentor them.  Mentoring your employees can help your company in many ways.  Here are just a few of the ways mentoring helps your employees:

  • Raises employee engagement
  • Raises familiarity between you and the employee
  • Creates a learning environment that feels safe for the employee
  • Allows the mentor to share resources, knowledge, and skills

Case Study

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Harold is a supervisor at the Quiet Kitty Pet Beds Company.  Quincy and Martha are employees in Harold’s department.  Harold is a big believer in having a good relationship with his employees.  He is currently in the process of mentoring Quincy and Martha.  Harold believes in being honest with his employees, be it good or bad feedback.  He also loves to have regular conversations with his employees.  Quincy and Martha feel very comfortable with Harold as a supervisor and are not afraid to ask questions.