Each employee must know what they are expected to do, how they must do it, and where tasks should be completed.
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High Expectations or Reasonable Expectations?
To set expectations, you need to first create specific expectations based on certain important factors. Setting high expectations is beneficial in cases where the team is motivated and skilled enough to achieve them. If this is not the case, it is better to set reasonable expectations.
A team of highly skilled software engineers would love the challenge of meeting high expectations, but a team of new writers who do not have much experience in writing may feel intimidated by it. Therefore, when setting expectations, consider the level of skill and abilities the employees have for meeting them.
Clarify All Expectations at the Beginning
When you tell employees that you have these expectations from them, you are giving them a yardstick through which they will judge their present and future performances. If you keep changing your expectations, the employee will feel unstable and confused.
If you informed your team to give priority to task A and try to complete it in a month’s time, and after a week you tell them to put aside task A and concentrate on a new task B, then you are leaving the employees unprepared for the change. On the other hand, if you informed them from the beginning that they must expect sudden changes in tasks and tell them the reason for it, then they will expect the unsettling changes and will adapt accordingly.
It is vital to communicate to employees the factors that will affect them and their work. It must be done even if some of the factors are obvious. Some of the common considerations for employees are:
- The amount of time they need to spend on a task
- The quality of the work expected by the employer
- The level of priority for each task
- Any changes in tasks
- The remuneration for the job
- Promotion opportunities
Formal and Informal Expectations
Common Formal Expectations: There are some expectations that are very important and are required by the company to be fulfilled. These expectations may regard behaviour, etiquette, leaving the job, company responsibility and other policies. These expectations are usually provided to employees in writing when they join a company. The fulfilling of these expectations is a must and any violation can have unpleasant consequences.
Specific Formal Expectations: Along with the expectations that are common for all employees of a company, there are specific formal expectations from each employee. These depend on the job profile of an employee.
Informal Expectations: There are certain informal, unspoken expectations that crop up when over time, especially when there is frequent communication among team members or between management and the team. Some employees perform better than others, some are more dependable, and some are quick-thinkers. A team or management may begin to set expectations from each employee based on their qualities.
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