Chad T. Ahern
Meeting Employee Expectations Isn’t Enough Anymore…
How many of you can find significant differences in the employee benefits posted in a newspaper job ad? How about online? How about in employee handbooks?
Okay, maybe you don't have access to multiple employee handbooks; but when was the last time you reconsidered enhancing your company's offerings? When was the last time you asked for employee input on what's best for them?
A few weeks ago, Lauren Bell of KSV posted this great piece on exceeding expectations. A lot of what she states about customers also applies to any company or organization when it comes to their employees' expectations.
Lauren first posed these very similar questions "what do you do for your employees?" and, "what do you provide?" In the context of her post, I think she meant them as different phrasings of the same question - "how are you helping your customer?"
For employers, these must be two very different questions.
You likely provide for time-off, health/dental/vision coverage, and maybe a retirement contribution or savings plan I'd like to assume these are on top of reasonable pay and a safe working environment. Good start, but these are pieces of the employment that people already expect. It's the bare minimum.
Employees likely don't value these benefits in and of themselves. They value what those benefits allow them to do --- feed/cloth/house themselves, take a vacation, spend time with family, and stay healthy. To paraphrase Laura again..."If we work for it, it’s an expectation."
The rub comes when you start considering, "what are you doing for your employees?"
How are you...
Discovering what's important to them?
Helping them develop as people?
Focusing on and building upon what they do really well?
Identifying and facilitating new learning opportunities?
Understanding where they want to go in work and in life?
Your employees will value things that exceed their expectations.
In a world of overwhelming choice, and a workforce keenly aware that companies like Google are re-writing the book on hiring, motivating, and developing talent, how can you exceed the expectations of your employees?
Be a place of constant learning. Whether it's bringing in outside experts or utilizing the knowledge of your people, any time you can expand the minds and horizons of your people there is a chance to exceed expectations. Your combined knowledge makes your workplace valuable. Along those lines, when was the last time you had a new hire immediately share what he/she already knows, and their ideas for helping move the company forward? That's a two'fer - the new employee feels honored, and your current employees get immediate access to a new source of knowledge. Expectations exceeded? Check.
Personalize your approach. While some employee expectations will be pretty standard, each employee will have some set of their employer expectations that will be quite unique. Be ready for this. Know what it will take to "blow your employee's mind", and make them realize you provide them with a unique value to their careers.
Be flexible. As employees grow and mature, what they value and their expectations will change. Be ready to offer multiple alternatives to help your employees get more out of their experience with you and your company.
Better understand your employee's experience. What were their expectations at their previous employers? How did those employers fall short? Once you know how others lost out on your current employees, you'll have a better chance to keep those on your team.
How are you exceeding your employees' expectations?