Special offer 

Jumpstart your hiring with a $75 credit to sponsor your first job.*

Sponsored Jobs are 2.6x times faster to first hire than non-sponsored jobs.**
  • Attract the talent you’re looking for
  • Get more visibility in search results
  • Appear to more candidates longer

Setting Employee Expectations From the First Interview

All workplaces have employee expectations, both formal and informal. Ensuring that new employees understand the culture and guidelines of working for your company can help ensure smoother transitions into their roles. Take the time to establish a clear and straightforward process for explaining employment expectations, beginning with the job interview, to make sure your new hires fully understand what’s expected of them when working for your company. Learn about common employee expectations, why setting expectations early is important and get answers to frequently asked questions on the topic in this guide.

Post a Job
Create a Culture of Innovation
Download our free step-by-step guide for encouraging healthy risk-taking
Get the Guide

What are employee expectations?

Employee expectations are the tasks, guidelines and structures a company establishes for its staff members to abide by. While employment expectations for company staff members can cover a broad spectrum, they often refer to job-related tasks and goals. This employee expectations list covers some of the most common expectations:

  • Responsibilities: Job responsibilities are the specific tasks the company expects the employee to perform as a part of their position.
  • Work hours: These are the hours the employee can expect to work. Depending on the position, work hours might be consistent or change from day to day to meet the needs of the company.
  • Leadership: These include what the employee can expect from the company in terms of mentorship, supervision and performance reviews.
  • Advancement: These expectations describe the path the employee can take to rise through the ranks of the company.

Employee behavior expectations

In addition to job-related tasks and goals, many employers have behavioral expectations that employees should uphold throughout each workday. While the specifics can vary depending on the job and company, standard employee behavior expectations include:

  • Maintaining a good attendance record
  • Displaying professional, courteous behavior at all times throughout the workday, even when on breaks
  • Maintaining a positive attitude during work hours
  • Adhering to all company policies, rules and procedures
  • Displaying an ability to manage workloads and meet deadlines without issues
  • Willingness to listen to and consider the opinions and views of others

Team employee expectations

In some workplaces, certain employees are required to work with others on teams, whether for individual projects or throughout their employment with the company. Employee expectations for these positions are similar in terms of responsibilities, work hours and overall behavior, however there may be certain team-specific expectations that members should follow. Some employee expectations examples for teams are:

  • Displaying respect and consideration for other team members
  • Willingness to work as a team player
  • Being comfortable sharing ideas
  • Willingness to listen to constructive feedback
  • Ability to demonstrate brainstorming techniques
  • Willingness to ask others for help on projects and collaborations when needed

Related: New Hire Packets: Three Surprising Things to Include

Employee expectations for employers

While employees are expected to adhere to company guidelines, rules and polices and meet these expectations each workday, they’re also entitled to have expectations for their employer. In addition to adhering to common leadership expectations, employers, upper management and supervisors should follow certain professional guidelines when interacting with staff. Some important employer expectations include:

  • Provision of a safe and healthy working environment
  • Respectful and courteous treatment of employees
  • Provision of paychecks, bonuses and commissions on expected pay dates
  • Appropriate training to ensure employees can meet their job position requirements
  • Provision of clear explanation/description of company rules, policies and procedures at the start of employment (written and verbal)

Why it’s important to set employee expectations from the beginning

It’s necessary to clearly explain all facets of employee expectations as early as possible in the professional relationship with a new hire. When employees have inaccurate or unclear information, they’re more likely to struggle to meet expectations initially and may feel disappointed with their positions in the long-term.

Ensuring that employees understand exactly what their new position entails, what their work hours will be, how supervisors will review their work and whether they can expect to continue their career with the company long-term can help them feel empowered to do their best work. Empowered employees are generally more satisfied with their work and tend to be more productive than those with unclear work expectations.

Related: Interviewing Strategies for New Hires: Best Practices

How to set clear expectations for employees

Follow these steps to establish clear employee expectations for better staff engagement and increased productivity:

Establish expectations

Before you can share them with your employees, you must establish clear and specific expectations for each position. Write out a list of expectations for these four categories—position responsibilities, work hours, leadership and advancement—for all positions.

Share expectations

If your current employees don’t have a clear idea of their employee expectations, share the list you established with them. Field any questions and clarify details as needed. For new hires, introduce expectations as early as possible. Consider including key details, like main job responsibilities and work hours, in the job posting. Address all employee expectations explicitly during the job interview. Confer with employees currently in those positions and with human resources to ensure you fully understand the position’s responsibilities.

Include expectations

Add the list of expectations to your employee handbook. Require a review of all documented expectations as part of the onboarding process for new hires. Ensure that all employees, both old and new, are aware of any updates to the list and where to find the expectations for their position for reference.

Follow up with new hires

After a new hire’s first few weeks on the job, ask them how the employee expectations provided during the job interview and onboarding align with the actuality of working for the company. Make sure they feel comfortable with the expectations, answer any questions they may have and clarify any uncertain details.

Assess and update

Periodically, meet with your human resources team to review all employee expectations and update them as required. It’s prudent to poll your employees prior to the meeting to help identify any specific areas that need adjusting.

Frequently asked questions about employee expectations

What are workplace expectations?

Workplace expectations are the guidelines for how employees conduct themselves in the office, field or other work environments. Usually, they cover dress codes, company culture and shared space expectations. Workplace expectations, unlike employee expectations, aren’t job specific. Instead, they apply to everyone who works in the office or workplace.

What are performance expectations?

Performance expectations refer to the company’s guidelines for employee productivity. They’re closely related to employee expectations, and you might share them with your employees at the same time. Usually, performance expectations describe how the work done by employees directly impacts the overall success of the company. Depending on the role, you might include any specific goals or metrics necessary for employees to maintain personal, team and company performance standards.

What are professional expectations?

Professional expectations guide the employee’s interactions when representing the company. Some employees meet with clients outside the office or attend industry events outside work hours. Establishing professional expectations for how your employees conduct themselves in these situations ensures that your company is well-represented no matter what the scenario. Often, professional expectations provide guidelines for actions like drinking alcohol, accepting gifts and discussing personal topics while on work assignments.

Can an employee be terminated for not meeting certain expectations of their employer?

The failure to meet certain expectations may not warrant termination. For example, if displaying respectful behavior is an expectation, an employee may only receive a reprimand if they act rudely toward a coworker. However, if an employee engages in illegal activities on the job, it might result in immediate termination.

Post a Job
Create a Culture of Innovation
Download our free step-by-step guide for encouraging healthy risk-taking
Get the Guide

Ready to get started?

Post a Job

*Indeed provides this information as a courtesy to users of this site. Please note that we are not your recruiting or legal advisor, we are not responsible for the content of your job descriptions, and none of the information provided herein guarantees performance.

Editorial Guidelines