ALL human relationships, including those of employers and employees, involve expectations, and conflicts tend to occur when expectations are not met. When you start a new job, you should try to make sure you have a clear understanding of what your new employer expects of you.

Also, it is important to think about what you expect of your new employer.
Your new colleagues will expect you to approach the job with an open mind, so that you can quickly learn what you need in order to do your job well. They will expect you to take instructions and directions from the people training you and from your supervisor.

They will expect you to be reliable. Arrive at work on time and do not leave until your shift is over. Call in to give notice if you are sick and cannot make it in or are going to be unavoidably delayed. Your new employers will expect you to be honest, conduct yourself professionally and to dress appropriately for the position.

If you want to make an excellent impression and exceed your employer’s basic expectations, try to cultivate a cheerful and flexible attitude. Things are often more complicated in reality than they appear on paper, so the company’s official organisational chart might not be sufficient to describe everything that actually needs to get done. If you display resentment when asked to do something outside of your normal responsibilities, your boss might be disappointed.

Your employer will expect certain things of you, but you also have the right to expect some things of your employer. Employees’ expectations include the timely and accurate payment of wages or salaries, adequate training, safe working conditions, full explanation of all company policies and especially of your job responsibilities, and fair and constructive feedback from your supervisor.

If any of these expectations are not being met, you should have a conversation with your supervisor to discuss the situation. Most of these employee expectations are not only reasonable, but are also required by law. The relationship between you and your employer is likely to run into trouble if either of you feels that expectations are not being consistently met.

Some of these situations are unambiguous. For instance, if you do not get your cheque when you are supposed to, your employer is clearly not meeting a legitimate expectation.
If you leave the office an hour early every day, you are not meeting expectations.
Other expectations might not be reasonable. If your employer expects loyalty from employees, but does not extend the same loyalty to them, this may not be fair. If you expect to be promoted after you hve been working there for a year, this may not be reasonable if you have not excelled as an employee. Whenever you are dealing with employer expectations, try to assess them objectively to decide how reasonable they really are.

Expectations can be organised in many ways, but should cover aspects of work and life important to the people involved – both the explicit expectations for task performance, managerial direction and organisational resource support, and, more personal expectations each person has for respectful treatment, work environment quality, personal expression and growth.

In each description both the manager, as an individual and a representative of the employer, and the employee have expectations. Sometimes these expectations match. The problems occur when the expectations do not match.

An example of conflicting expectations might be the case where an employee expects clear direction from their manager, but the manager expects the employee to work with general guidelines in a more unstructured way.

The manager gives ideas and suggestions thinking that they are encouraging the employee’s autonomy, initiative and development. The employee is frustrated by the lack of direction and thinking the manager is unable or unwilling to make organisational commitments for employee performance and reward. At the performance review the manager feels the employee has not done as well as they should have in the job and gives the employee a mediocre review.

The employee feels the manager has not done their job and is being subjective or idiosyncratic in the review. Neither the manager nor the employee is happy or productive. Discussing these expectations and differences in preferred employer-employee style would have made both employer and employee more effective.

Lawrence Jugmohan is the head of Digital Street, Automation Engineer at Derivco

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