Top 5 tips for setting a great foundation for new employee expectations

As a child I had set of family values that were established in our house that acted as guidelines for my behavior. My mother would always remind me anytime I would steer away from these guidelines why they were important. Family values can be whatever works best for you and your family. Some of our values included “Dream Big”, “Always Be Honest” and my favourite, “Laugh Out Loud”. Looking back on them now, I believe these family values acted more like expectations of the people living in the house. 

These expectations helped me become a contributing, respectful member of the family and shaped who I am today. I believe the same theory can be applied to the workplace.  If you set expectation for your employees they can easily identify what is required of them and perform to that standard. Setting high yet attainable expectations for your employees to reach can help uncork brilliant potential, and who reaps the rewards of that? Everyone – the individual employees, his or her subordinates, management, the company at large, and most of the individual themselves. 

So how do you set expectation of your employees? Who should be involved in setting expectations? How do you measure success of reaching expectations? Below are five ideas that, if blended together, can provide you and your employees a great foundation for setting expectations and achieving mutual success. 


  1. Don’t wait until they arrive – Get a head start: Why not let your new employees know what their first day couple days are going to look like? This can happen during the recruitment cycle or it can happen before their first day of employment.  This ‘preflight’ stage helps put new employees’ minds at ease and sets the stage for you to deliver on what you have promised – an easy win when it comes to setting expectations. One of the ways I have seen work is by emailing all new employees before they start to let them know what their first day is going to look like, where they can park, how much parking cost, where to eat around the area, who to ask for when they first get in, and most importantly what they can expect from their new career on their first day. This allows new employees to understand the outcome of their first few days and also allows them to prepare for what is being thrown at them. 
  2. Prepare for their arrival: A new employee’s first experience should be one that is well-organized, regardless what other day-to-day demands and responsibilities you are facing. We all get busy, but ensure you carve out time beforehand to be ready when new employees come on board. When a new employee realizes that the company they committed too is prepared for them, it helps puts any jitters they may have had to rest and allows them to focus on learning the ways of the new company. 
  3. Expectation setting is a team sport: Once your employee is feeling settled into his or her role, sit down with them and ask them what they are expecting, indicate what you are expecting and come up with how you both think you will get there. You should do this early on to get a head start on the expectation train. The simple interaction can make sure all parties are motivated to meeting the same goals. It also informs the new employee that he or she has to come in and perform.
  4. Everyone loves numbers: Now I am not sure if everyone loves numbers, but in this day in age, those in the business world certainly respond well to numbers. Provide your new employee with metrics related to goals and targets that should strive to attain. This will provide them with a tangible goal to strive towards that indicate success.  
  5. Put their shoes on your feet: I firmly believe you cannot create expectations for someone unless you can comprehend where they are coming from. In which every way you can, understand their job, their responsibilities, their strengths and their weakness. Use this information to challenge them and provide them with expected goals you intend for them to meet. 

Again, embedding some of these simple tips into your recruitment and professional development programs is a great way to expedite onboarding, boost employee comfort, minimize confusion, improve retention and, ultimately, improve organizational efficiency. 

Purdal Mya is a Corporate Trainer in Intelex’s Professional Development Office (PDO). Every second Wednesday, different members of the Intelex PDO provide great insights on everything from professional development to hiring and recruiting to career planning right here on the Official Intelex Blog.

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