How to determine a new employer's expectations

By Alexia Vernon,

When a new hire goes rogue or fails to meet expectations, employers are often blind to their role in the failure. Instead of asking, "Could I have better supported my employee?" they instead say, "I hated to do it, but I had to let Suzie go" or "I had to put Bill on probation."

Hiring managers have a habit of viewing underperformance or shattered expectations as the fault of one person. Once they understand that they are just as responsible as the new hire for the new hire's success, they can develop, apply and refine strategies and corresponding techniques to ensure that new hires, particularly those who are new to the workforce, get to where they need to be.

For sustainable workplace success, transparency is key. New employees can easily become lost and unsure of themselves when employer expectations are not communicated clearly. By the end of the first week, direct supervisors or managers should talk to new workers about their chief responsibilities and the ways in which they will be held accountable.

During this conversation, bosses should also clarify exactly what is expected of a new employee. And if a new employee hasn't received any direction, he should feel comfortable broaching the topic himself. Here are the topics to discuss, categorized as the "4 P's".


  • What is the appropriate use of technology, particularly social media?

  • Can employees take personal calls in the workplace?

  • What kind of relationship can employees enjoy with managers outside of the workplace?

  • Can colleagues date? If so, must they be in different departments? Have lateral positions? Report it to human resources?


  • What are three to five key indicators of outstanding performance in this position?

  • In which skills and behaviors does management want to see evidence of success?

  • What are key benchmarks in performance that must be met in the first 90 days?

  • What are key project deadlines that must be hit in the first 90 days?

  • How are promotions and raises decided?

Problem solving

  • What are the best ways to handle the "typical" problems that someone in this role will encounter?

  • How should a worker deal with a problem? At what point should a supervisor be brought in?

  • What are company practices for handling internal conflict or conflict with a customer/stakeholder?


  • What's an appropriate workplace attitude?

  • What values do successful employees carry into their work?

  • How can professionals demonstrate creativity and innovation?

  • How can new hires best adapt to and shape company culture?

While some of these topics may have been addressed before the first day, it's never a bad idea to revisit them. By asking and answering these types of questions, bosses and employees will be able to effectively communicate expectations to each other.

Source: careerbuilder

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