By Ellen Warden, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
WorkPlace Synergy, LLC
Atlanta, GA

Does it feel like the employees in your BV/LS practice expect too much? Do you get the impression they just don’t have a realistic picture of life at your firm. People cannot read your mind, so to get you and your team on the same page you must communicate your expectations clearly, early and often.

A recent Glassdoor survey found 61% of respondents felt the job expectations created during the interview process differed from their on-the-job experience. Make sure your new hires understand their role, how it fits within the firm, and how it will impact the bottom line. Start at the very first encounter in the recruitment process. Define what it means to be an employee of your organization. Be honest and upfront with what your firm offers its employees, what you expect from them and what they can expect from you.

Keep the conversations going after the hire. One of the biggest energy drains on BV/LS Practice leaders is dealing with disgruntled employees when reality doesn’t meet expectations. The most successful organizations mutually agree on expectations at the outset of employment, and revisit them periodically to ensure firm leadership and employees still see eye to eye.

Know Yourself.

Who are you? What are the core principles of your firm’s culture, and what are your “non-negotiables”? Honesty and integrity; individual initiative and motivation; positive attitude; dependability; cooperation; continually striving for perfection?

• What do you do and how do you do it? What is your firm’s mission and what role will the employee play in implementing the firm’s strategy? What are your expectations regarding job responsibilities, schedule, hours, travel, productivity, utilization? How is work delegated and supervised, measured, rewarded?

Know Your Audience.

• Ask questions. Are your employees expecting fun surprises and an open bar at work every day? Do they interpret “career development” as promotion to Manager in 6 months? Don’t make assumptions and don’t pretend to be something you’re not. Ask what they are looking for and give examples of both typical and unusual work days, situations and job stressors in your firm.

• Be alert to employee expectations around pay… but that’s not all. Transparency upfront helps avoid disappointment down the road. But compensation is not the only issue, and may not be the most important one for your employees. A study by PwC found that a significant number of workers want a flexible work schedule and are willing to give up pay and delay promotions to get it. Do you offer a healthy balance between work and personal life? Remote working options? Mentorship and an investment in training and professional development?

• Walk the talk. Don’t promise something you will not or cannot deliver. A recent American Psychological Association’s Work and Well-Being Survey found that 25% of workers do not trust their employer and 32% feel their boss or organization is “not always honest and truthful.” Embrace who you are, share what your firm can and will provide and “walk the talk.”

When you communicate honestly and effectively, putting everything on the table from the beginning, your candidates and employees can ask themselves whether they are a strong match for your firm. This transparency will lead to better-fitting new hires who appreciate what you offer and find satisfaction in their jobs. Closing the gap between you and your employees’ expectations will help avoid disappointment, boost morale and retain talent.

Ellen Warden
Ellen Warden