(Thanks to Osama for suggesting and contributing to this)
A lot of times there are clashes of interest in what an employer wants and what an employee wants, most of it stemming from the expectations each one has with the other. Lets look at what these expectations are, and what the realities are.
Employers expectations from Employee
Expectation: Employee should be committed to me
Fact : Employee is never committed to you, he is always committed to his career. If you are providing him either good work in which he is learning or good money, he will be with you but whenever both of these disappear he will surely think about his commitments, with some additional considerations (see later in this post)
Expectations: We have had a bad year, they should stick with us until we start doing better. So what if we don’t give a raise once, we have been doing that regularly in the past.
Fact: Especially in Pakistan, if an employee smells that the company is going down; they will run. Nobody wants to be there when you close it down. They have to feed their families.
Expectations : We are giving them good salaries, the benefits are good, so the iteration should be low.
Fact: Good benefits and good salaries are not the only thing a person looks at his work place for. Compelling work is a major factor in this relationship.
Expectations: Employees should share their plans of going abroad (for work or studies) with us from the day they plan it, so that we can plan for a replacement, or otherwise at least try to assist them
Fact: Deciding to go abroad from Pakistan is a long process spanning from 6-12 months, and that too highly uncertain. An individual does not inform the company until the very last minute out of the fear that by informing he will lose the perks and good projects, and if his application (of going abroad) is rejected he will be stranded here.
Expectations: He should give his 100% till the last hour of the last day at work
Fact: The moment they decide to leave you, whether it is months or days prior, their concentration and productivity falls down.
Employees expectations from Employer
Expectation: Work is measured by the number of hours I spend in the office. If I am regularly staying late, that means that I am working hard. Results are not in my hand
Fact: Work is measured by your productivity — defined by how much you produce — and the quality of the output. If the outcome of your twelve hour effort is a five-hour output, then five hours is how much you have worked.
Expectation: My employer should care about me as a person. He/She should be forgiving, if I am passing through a bad patch in life.
Fact: Employers do not care about you as much as they care about the work. The actual value you are providing to the employer is the productivity of your work, if you can’t produce good work then your employer has no reason to keep you
There are exceptions to this — see later in this post
Expectation: My employer should ask my opinion for the work I am supposed to do. It is my work and I should have a say in it.
Fact: Unless you have a proven track record and are an outstanding employee, chances are your opinion will not matter. If you want yourself to be heard, work extra hard. Have a plan ready when asked. Don’t just say “I THINK it should take 15 days instead of 10”, back up your statement with hard facts and maybe a senior’s endorsement — especially if you are new — like “Based on previous projects which were similar to this and my senior’s opinion it should take 15 days “. If you are good, people will be drawn to asking your opinion instead of ordering you around. Be Pro-Active!
Expectations: I deserve a pat on the back because I did what I was told to do in the allocated time
Fact: Unless you do something extra ordinary which shows extra commitment you won’t get that praise. Doing a 10 day job in 5 days will get you that praise, or putting in that extra feature not in the original plan will work. By only doing what was asked, you are meeting the basic requirement of job, and your employers are already paying you for that.
Expectations: If I am managing some people, my productivity will increase because I can assign my work to them
Fact : If you are managing other people, chances are you will be doing their work along with your own work. You will be blamed for the mistakes they make, because they are your team. So being a manager is not making your life easier its making it more difficult.
Expectations: I am new. I don’t need to put in a lot of effort in the first few months. Also, since I am learning I am allowed to make mistakes.
Fact: The day you sign your employment contract your employer is expecting an output from you. This is especially true in MNCs such as Standard Chartered and P&G. The more time you are taking in training means that you are wasting the money being spent on you, and also the money being spent on your supervisors and trainers. The earlier you stand up to your feet the better you will be for yourself and the company.
Expectation: My employers will read this post and think that I am not committed to them, so I can start demanding good pay out of them
Fact: Your employers do not care about this post. Nor do they care about realizing the error of their ways. They care about the success of their company and they are giving you an opportunity to be the reason for that success. Think of it as a privilege and be respectful. Take the first step, and become committed out of professional ethics, and then your employers may take the next step of paying you well. Do not keep expecting to first get a good pay before you will show them your commitment.
Expectation: My employer should give US based training, extra vacation time and they should be running back and forth to take care of me, because I think I deserve it.
Fact: They do not have an obligation to do that just because you are their employee. An employer will train someone only if they see a direct benefit to their profits by doing so. They will have things like movie nights only if you will in turn learn good lessons and give back to the company more effort and dedication. Their managers will promote you and take you along in business trips and introduce you to their contacts only if you are the reason for their company’s success, and you want to continue to be that reason. No one will help you just because you feel that you deserve it. So make a business incentive for the employer to take care of you — prove how happy you will be to make the company more profitable.
Expectation: My employer should always give me good news about the company otherwise I will run… I have a family to feed
Fact: If you want any position of importance in a company, where you are leading anyone else or are managing a team of any size, then you should not be afraid of discussing financial matters with your seniors. You are responsible for the profit / loss of your team — if they are unable to complete a task within budget, then your team will make a loss, and hence the company will make a loss from that project. Understand that no company can survive consistent losses. If you want good news about a healthy company, make those results.
Clearly a gap exists, but it is not enough to simply discuss it and accept it for what it is. It is important to move forward in closing this gap. These are the basic steps that will help us move in that direction.
1- Employees need to take the first step, because employers will not care to. They should look at taking specific courses on Professionalism, Professional Communication, and Project Accounting. This will help you become the integral member of a company that the employer will want to take care of.
2- Employees must remember a company will only start to care about you when you become an asset. Think about, and read about how people become assets in world-class companies — the information is available online.
3- Employers should create additional incentive structures which relate directly to benefits brought to a company. Rather than give arbitrary bonuses, the bonus should be a % of the profits made in a quarter. Many interesting frameworks around performance points can be created, provided the employers invest the time/money to get them made.
4- Employers need to rethink how they define productivity for information workers. Rather than just units produced, a framework that looks at contribution to internal knowledge pool, internal training, the company brand, and more can be explored.