The best managers always know to set clear expectations for all of their employees, but especially their new ones. When employees have concrete guidelines about what is needed from them, they are far more motivated and equipped to do good work than if those guidelines and expectations were not set for them.
Since it’s especially common for new employees to get confused about what you expect from them, here are some strategies in setting expectations for them so that they can start their new job on the right track!
Communicate Early and Often
Be sure to communicate expectations to your employees as soon as possible. You want to ensure that they are never left in the dark. Neither one of you wants them to just be trying to guess what is needed.
You can reinforce what is required and ensure everyone is on the same page by hosting weekly or monthly check-ins as well as overall annual assessments.
“To ensure that your new hire is comfortable and finding their way, show that you trust them by asking them to give a presentation at the end of their first day or week. Nothing too stressful or demanding, just a quick and fun way for you to make sure they understand the company culture.” – COO Alliance
New employees hearing expectations once is often not enough to make it sink in. It’s beneficial to everyone for you to repeat yourself regularly as needed so that you can be as sure as possible that everyone is on the same page.
Ask Them What Their Expectations Are
Collaborating with employees on creating and enforcing expectations is a very important part of setting them and the entire company up for success.
It’s important to remember that not all employees are the same. Each employee’s ability to understand what is expected of them is a combination of experiential and interpersonal factors. This means that you need to make sure that you are effectively communicating with your employees by asking them what they expect and need from you in order to do their job to the absolute best of their ability.
Be Clear and Give Examples of Good Work
You can set your new employees up for success by providing examples of what you or other employees have done in the past to best meet your and the company’s expectations. Doing this will provide employees with a concrete idea of what is needed and give them a clear target to aim for.
It’s important to note that it’s not just about telling your employees what to do and then just hoping for the best. You must be specific!
Focus on the What, Not the How
It’s important for you, as a leader, to focus on what your employees do, not exactly how they do it. Focus your expectations on the result rather than the process that works best for them, because everyone’s process is different!
As long as an employee is getting their work in on time and their methods aren’t costing the company more than they should, then let them tackle the work how they see fit. No one knows how to get the work done the best way they can except themselves.
Not only that, but new employees often bring a fresh perspective to the company and the work that you don’t have. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself being inspired by some of the ways new employees get the job done.
Give Positive Feedback and Reinforcement
Not all previous experience is created equal. Because of this, let your employees know when they are on the right path using positive reinforcement.
Just because a new employee has experience in a similar position at a previous job, that does not necessarily mean they know what you want. Every company and every employer is different.
Employees make a lot of assumptions when they first start. They look to you to let them know whether or not their work is acceptable. This requires you to give employees regular feedback, especially during their first few weeks and months of work will ensure that they always know they are meeting your specific expectations.
It’s your job to guide your employees in the right direction. Putting enough time and thought into setting up clear guidelines and expectations for them will significantly reduce the amount of work and re-work you will have to do in the future. You want to do everything you can to make sure your employees know how to get it done right the first time around!
How do you set expectations for your employees? Let us know in the comments below!
If you have questions or would like more information, we’d be happy to help. Please send us an email, and someone from the team will get in touch with you!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2019 and has been edited for accuracy and comprehensiveness.