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How to Balance Business Needs With Employee Expectations

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Alice Florence Orr
November 16, 2023
6 min read

Meeting employee expectations is a challenge for every business. Your company goals, including your bottom line, are not necessarily the thing at the forefront of your employee’s mind. However, there are ways to balance business needs with employee expectations through carefully chosen strategies.

In the modern workplace, global events such as market crashes and the pandemic have changed how employees view their lives. We place greater emphasis on work/life balance, in addition to calling for improved compensation. But not every company can afford to meet these demands.

On the other hand, many markets are becoming harder to navigate. The Hollywood strikes demonstrated that the needs of companies and the concerns of employees are becoming inflamed. New technology like artificial intelligence is fast approaching; we should think about better ways to connect employees and companies.

Here at Mo, we’re experts at improving connections between high-level management and team members. We have used our research to summarise six key methods to align employee expectations with business success.

Employees Want a Positive Work Culture

We hear this phrase all over the internet, but what does it mean for your team? We define a “positive work culture” as demonstrating transparency, communication and mutual benefit. You needn’t be best friends with your colleagues to achieve this. But a degree of friendliness and respect is essential.

Company culture has more influence on your employees than some managers think. If employees feel happy in their roles, productivity increases. It seems obvious. However, companies promote many managers into the position without providing adequate training.

Here are five features of a positive work culture:

  1. Good communication
  2. Adequate reward and recognition
  3. Transparent and achievable team goals
  4. Opportunities for professional development
  5. Engaged team culture

A positive work culture will improve employee retention by making individuals feel appreciated beyond traditional performance reviews. While regular check-ins from managers help employees feel supported, they can be stressful. Mo has created a strategy that enables managers to recognise and encourage team members without excessive admin or formality.

Beyond better rewards, our platform creates a positive company culture through fun and productive conversation. Our “Boosts” allow managers to prompt staff for updates on anything from their work priorities to recent pet pictures. And they’re fully customisable.

Book a demo and learn how we can create tangible improvements in your employee engagement metrics.

Effective Leadership

Communicating business goals to team members is an essential part of being an effective leader. We’ve already mentioned that when managers are promoted, they often receive insufficient training. Leadership must recognise any weaknesses and provide the appropriate support and software. After all, a team is only as good as their line manager.

A company’s overall goals should be the foundation of team strategy. However, it’s hard to justify achieving goals through burnout. Managers translate these objectives while keeping an eye on their employees’ well-being.

Our CEO, Luke Fisher, has a new approach to how work and leadership should look today.

“I’ve always been interested in developing a more meaningful relationship with work. Can work be fulfilling, rather than a means to an end?

Most leaders set goals around performance outcomes, but rarely do we consider the invisible factors in how work is achieved. It isn’t always about performance.

Teams build around invisible factors, like relationships. My challenge was to understand how can we increase the visibility of these factors. Managers should actively celebrate performance that they don’t normally recognise. This is what bonds teams together and helps teams move forward sustainably.”

Remote/Hybrid Working

Changes in work culture have heavily affected employee turnover. Many employees now consider remote work to be essential, rather than an added benefit. No longer the reserve of “digital nomads”, working from anywhere is the norm for millions of employees.

According to Forbes, 12.7% of full-time employees work from home, while 28.2% work a hybrid model. Even more compelling, 98% of workers want to work remotely at least some of the time.

As a leader, you must decide whether remote working is sustainable for your business. Many companies have asked their employees to return to the office at least a few days a week. Some staff will inevitably leave. Assess your priorities in this area and make a choice based on a few factors:

  1. Retention metrics
  2. Productivity
  3. Company culture

Part of being a modern business is about understanding your workforce. Workers aged 24 to 35 make up the highest percentage of remote workers. They have little experience of the office; a move to hybrid work might be beneficial to their professional development.

Further reading:

Work/Life Balance

Employer expectations can be at odds with employee satisfaction. After the pandemic, many employees became disengaged and disillusioned, leading to a phenomenon called “quiet quitting“. The Great Resignation may be tailing off, but individuals continue to seek roles that harmonise with their other priorities.

Small policies like “Summer Fridays” can enliven your company culture. Larger policies, like offering unlimited paid time off, are more daring. Yet, they can pay dividends in recruitment and retention.

We’ve noticed a link between reward packages and higher employee retention. However, you can’t forget important factors like sustainable work hours and flexibility for carers.

Working parents have noticed an increase in bugs and flu since the pandemic. This has made it more difficult for them to balance their work responsibilities with taking care of their children. Giving them flexibility in their schedule is one way of supporting their needs.

Consider keeping freelancers in your back pocket for spells of illness within your team. You may also need to adjust your targets in the winter months to account for absences. Reduced productivity during illness is inevitable. As a business, you should account for reality, rather than putting pressure on the people who work for you.

Transform your culture with Mo

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Book a free demo to learn how Mo can help you:
  • Improve employee engagement scores
  • Reduce employee churn
  • Build a collaborative culture
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Clear Boundaries

Setting clear expectations with your team not only helps foster a positive work environment. It also demonstrates respect for their professionalism.

Ensure that you clearly communicate to your employees what is expected of them at work. Do they need to travel to conferences? Will they be expected to work unconventional hours?

Being upfront about adjustments to their jobs will help staff trust you. In return, they will share their own changes with you.

Four boundaries to consider as a manager:

Emotional boundaries

You don’t need to be best friends with your employees. Trust is essential. But not every form of emotional bonding is professional.

Time Boundaries

In France, it is illegal to message your employees outside of work hours. Consider why this is important for people’s quality of life. Of course, some jobs will require longer, unpredictable hours. Many people work to live, not live to work.

Physical Boundaries

Maintaining professionalism in the office is essential for sustainable working relationships. We don’t need to explain why inappropriate relations in the workplace are a bad idea. Stay updated on changing social norms and make sure you don’t get caught off guard.

Mental boundaries

Work is demanding. It should be. But pushing your employees every day can lead to a decrease in productivity. Enforce “meeting-free days” or “quiet afternoons” to give them a chance to catch up with their tasks.

How to Utilise Meaningful Recognition

Keep employees happy by demonstrating their worth to your team. Not everyone is highly ambitious; there’s nothing worse than consistently completing tasks every week to receive no recognition from your manager.

Ways to recognise employees:

  1. Monetary rewards
  2. Promotions
  3. Verbal recognition
  4. Paid time off
  5. Gifts and benefits
  6. Peer recognition

Mo provides a platform that empowers managers to recognise, engage and reward their team with less admin. With a friendly interface and easy-to-use engagement tools, we make positive company culture simple.

Employee Expectations: Key Takeaways

  • Meeting employee expectations presents a challenge for businesses, as employees prioritise factors like work/life balance and improved compensation.
  • Strategies to align employee expectations with business success include fostering a positive work culture, effective leadership, and adapting to remote/hybrid working.
  • Maintaining work/life balance, setting clear boundaries and offering meaningful recognition are crucial components in meeting employee expectations and fostering a positive company culture.
  • Business needs don’t have to be at odds with a culture that allows employees to thrive. Book a demo to find out how a positive culture can help you reduce attrition and boost productivity.

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