29 January 2024 |

What do employees expect from their HR team?

By Hebba Youssef

I’ve met employees that have incredibly high expectations for HR and others that have zero expectations and just hope their current HR isn’t as toxic as their last one. 

The average employee is probably somewhere in the middle. 

What do employees want from HR? Let me count the ways… 

  1. A positive work environment
  2. An empathic and trustworthy team 
  3. Effective recruiting processes 
  4. Career development and growth
  5. Inclusive culture 
  6. Equitable and transparent policies 
  7. Supportive and effective managers/leaders 
  8. Transparent communication 
  9. Employee wellbeing initiatives 
  10. Innovative benefits 
  11. Recognition and appreciation 

There’s probably 10-20 more things I could list. What did I miss??

So are HR teams expected to be everything everywhere all at once?

That can feel impossible… 

Let’s break down how to effectively manage those employee expectations. 

Managing employee expectations: 

Reality check: HR teams can’t always meet every employee expectation. 

But proactively setting expectations leads to better outcomes. 

I know you know that!

But here are 2 easy ways to proactively and effectively manage employee expectations:

1) Communicate: this feels like a cop out but I cannot stress this enough, almost everything needs to be communicated better. You should regularly be updating employees about the following:

  • Company strategy 
  • Policies and procedures (employees need to hear it 5-7 times!!)
  • Organizational changes 
  • Goals 

You can do this through a company wide meeting, internal newsletter, update email or message on Slack/Teams. Bonus if you do both! 

Double bonus: if you can create a 2-way channel for employees to give you express concerns and share feedback. An anonymous form could be great here!

Homework: yes, i’m giving you homework! 

Take 5-minutes today and write down the last time any of those 4 things above were communicated. If it’s been more than a month, start here. Ideally, employees hear from leadership/HR at least once a week. 

Read more: Last week’s edition about how different levels set expectations across an organization. 

2) Update your employee handbook / internal working docs: you should be reviewing your employee handbook/internal working docs on a regular basis. I like to aim for once a quarter! 

Your internal docs and handbook should tell employees exactly what to expect from HR and their experience at an organization. 

The last thing you want is for employees to read internal docs and then come to HR and get a different answer. That’s the fast track to trust being utterly lost and impossible expectation management. 

Homework: sorry in advance!

Do any of your internal docs or even your handbook have a section about how to work with HR?

It’s something I WISH more companies did! I want HR teams to lay their cards on the table and clearly say, here’s what to expect from your HR team

This could take so many shapes and go in many different directions but to keep it short:

  1. What HR is responsible for 
  2. How HR collects feedback from employees
  3. How HR responds to issues or concerns (time, forum, etc)

Start there and see how the document comes to life! 

There are so many ways HR can effectively set expectations across an organization. 

The two mentioned above are just a starting point for building a strong foundation!

What’s next:

OOh Miranda Priestly, I just got chills

While she was a very questionable manager she did make it CLEAR what she expected from her team. 

Never ending devotion & attention. 

But what about what her team needed from her?? 

Was she meeting their expectations? 

I don’t think so… 

Next week I’m diving into the struggles that come with managing up and what you can do when your boss isn’t meeting your expectations.