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Often HR professionals and the management team face the challenging situation of mismatched employee expectations. This happens when your employees’ expectations don’t match the reality of what the corporate philosophy, ideology and culture are. Sure, the challenge is more prevalent with startups and smaller companies where the weaker employer brand can sometimes mislead or misinform employees.

Often it’s not the company’s fault, however, your talent, holds high expectations from the organization. Unfortunately, it happens often and the consequences of failing to manage employee expectations can be severely damaging for the company’s image and brand. It tarnishes its ability to attract more talent and may even impact its business. It also costs the company valuable resources to find the right people only to have them realize that the company isn’t the right fit for them.

The outcome? An inflated turnover rate that weighs heavy on the company’s resources (time, money and effort) and a demotivated workforce.

The solution? Try these 3 techniques and you’ll find it easier to manage employee expectations.

1. Orientation Program

When was the last time you reviewed your orientation program? I’m talking about the on-boarding process which every new recruit undergoes. And no, your program to pair a new recruit with an employee who’s been around for a while doesn’t count. What I’m asking you to review is the formal program which has documented values and purpose. Don’t have one? Let’s get this documented immediately! The values you put down on paper form the basis of who you are as a company, what you stand for and value, how you do business and what purpose you’re striving for. By communicating this to everyone who joins you’ll be able to build a culture that you want and set employee expectations straight. Culture and values are an important part of a healthy organization, irrespective of the size of your company. If you can get this right you’ll have everyone on the same page and aligned with the company goals and purpose.

2. Employer Branding Efforts

Even if you’re an “unknown” company in the industry, you still need to play your role to inform people of the realistic expectations to have from you. Expectations need to be set right from the beginning of an employee’s journey with your company. Managing and promoting your employer branding is vital, irrespective of your company size. It’s especially important if you’re looking to boost your company values to potential and current employees. Essentially, by creating a solid employer brand you’ll let everyone know what they can expect from your company and why they should be keen on working for you. Along the way, you’ll be able to sift through those talent that don’t fit your culture with ease.

3. Communicate Openly

If you’ve tried the above two techniques and yet still find yourself struggling to manage employee expectations it doesn’t have to end your relationship here. You’ve already spent a lot of resources hiring these talent (and they too have invested in your company). The only logical step to take from here is to put in the effort to realign their expectations of the company. Irrespective of where the disconnect lies, be it office timings, community involvement or even job expectations, what you need to do is:

  1. Identify the gap in their expectations,
  2. Clarify the employees’ thoughts,
  3. Explain to them why things are this way, and
  4. Examine where things can be improved and communicate where they can’t be.

This step is probably the most important of the three and will need to be undergone continuously. It’s not just the new recruits who lose their way with mismatched employee expectations. In fact, your long serving employees may feel the same as well with time. By keeping communications open and frequent you’ll continuously manage employee expectations and show that you value their views and opinions.

Managing employee expectations is an ongoing process that you’ll need to frequently revisit and indulge in. if you really are looking to cultivate a high performing, aligned and productive culture you need to continuously invest time in these 3 techniques.

Read more: Why We Let Businesses Take Us For Granted