A 2-way street: how to successfully manage staff expectations

Are you worried about meeting staff expectations? Not too sure how to motivate staff? These concerns are all too common for managers and business owners. At Precision, we are well aware of just how important managing staff expectations can be. 

Here’s our advice for keeping your employees satisfied at work, maintaining communication and boosting your business management. 

staff expectations

Aim to exceed and avoid undershooting

If you undershoot what you have promised to deliver to employees, they will grow frustrated because you have not met their expectations. Alternately, if you exceed staff expectations, they will feel valued as workers and gain more confidence. 

Take this example of an employer that we know: he had a very good employee working for him, and one day, this employee received a personal award. They requested the day off work to receive the award during the ceremony, and the employer said yes. 

However, the employer did not only grant this as work leave — he also gifted £100 to the employee so that they could treat themselves and their partner to a meal out at a nice restaurant. This served not only as a bonus, but also as a present to recognise their achievement. 

Acknowledging the hard work and accomplishments of your employees can do wonders for their self-esteem, and is also an excellent way to motivate employees to keep up their good work for your company.

Implementing Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory

In the late 1950s, American psychologist Frederick Herzberg published his motivation-hygiene theory on the relationship between work motivators and hygiene factors. Also known as the two-factor theory or dual-factor theory, Herzberg formed this framework to gain a better understanding of how to motivate staff at work. He divided these categories as follows: 

Motivators: job status, performance, challenging work, personal growth, opportunities for progression

Hygiene factors: salary, work conditions, insurance, holiday allowance, relationships with staff, quality of employer

Herzberg’s studies found that even if a company offered positive motivators, a lack of hygiene factors often created dissatisfaction amongst employees. Therefore, ensuring that workers are paid well, work in good conditions and receive incentives or benefits can help to increase hygiene factors and maintain high satisfaction levels. 

The motivation-hygiene theory still serves as an important theoretical framework in business practice today. Utilising this theory can be a helpful tool for staff motivation and fostering a positive workplace culture.  

Handling demotivated employees

Knowing how to keep staff motivated is not always easy. We recently worked with a client who was concerned about an employee who felt demotivated at work. Once we chatted to this employee, we realised that the reason why they felt demotivated was that their employer had left them alone. They were working completely independently and had no communication with their employer. 

The reason why the employer did not feel the need to communicate with their employee is that the employee was doing a great job. You may be thinking, ‘what’s the problem if everything was going well? If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.’ Unfortunately, the employer never vocalised or communicated that everything was going well. Over time, staff expectations were not being met and the employee began to feel bitter.

We find that this is quite a common scenario in unhealthy employer-employee relations. If the employer leaves the employee alone, it can have one of two ripple effects: 

  1. The employee might feel bitter and resentful, as was the case with this particular client. This was because they believed that their employer did not care about their hard work.
  1. The employee starts to feel very aloof and powerful because they have free rein to do as they please. When an employee monopolises their role, this can also be a very unhealthy situation and result in poor business practice. 

Regular diarised meetings

With this particular client, we set up regular weekly meetings with the employer and two employees. Before the first meeting, we coached the employer about how to handle the meetings by having an ‘adult to adult’ conversation rather than ‘adult to child’. We advised the employer to avoid conducting the meeting with a patronising or autocratic tone. Then, we instructed them to give the employees three compliments each throughout the meeting — six compliments in total. 

This method produced a collaborative and two-way conversation, generating a successful boost in staff motivation. Over time, the demotivated employee grew more and more motivated. The employee felt respected and heard, realising that these meetings were a forum getting his points across to his employer.

Originally, this exercise was intended to motivate employees. However, increasing staff motivation levels also helped the business. This is because the employee feeds into their business strategy, and gave them a different insight into the business which proved to be very valuable. 

The best way to motivate employees is to deliver consistent positive reinforcement. Don’t just firefight problems and react by only speaking to your employees when things. Be proactive and host regular diarised meetings to meet staff expectations. Communicating with your employees is a crucial business management skill. 

How our consultancy service can help your business management

Our professional team of finance and business management consultants here at Precision Management Consultancy have achieved great business goals with many companies. Whether you would like to learn how to motivate employees or manage staff expectations, we can work closely with you to help you improve your business practice and management skillset. 

If you would like to find a solution to an issue in your business, contact us today and we’ll soon be in touch to arrange your first consultation.

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