Tag Archive: work-life balance

  1. Communication Expectations – are your people engaged?

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    Communication Expectations in the Workplace

    This fifth article on employee expectations looks at communication expectations in the workplace and the impact on employee engagement.

    Employee ExpectationsIf the cost of poor communication is: mistakes, wasted time, wasted money, bad recruitment, missed sales, dysfunctional teams, poor morale and slow innovation – so what is the value of good communication?

    Good communication is a key indicator of how your employee engagement strategies are working.

    Rather than assuming what communication expectations may be, managers can now explore each team member’s personality and communication expectations in ways not previously possible.

    The organisational view

    Understanding how employees and teams deal with different styles of communication, and which ones they prefer,  is the cornerstone of organisational effectiveness.

    If an employee wants or expects a good deal of frankness when speaking with other team members and is not getting it, they may well alter their behaviour so that they too are less open and even given to being undiplomatic on occasion.

    Similarly, if an employee is looking for more informative levels of communication and this is not being offered by their line manager or team members, then changes to communication styles can help bring a better understanding and an increase in productivity.

    Does everyone in the group have the same communication expectations?

    Finding out what employee’s communication expectations are can be highly enlightening; by using Harrison Assessments engagement and retention analytics we can explore them in detail.

    Team Communication Expectations

    What can we interpret for this group?

    • This group has a moderate desire for others to communicate in a frank and straightforward manner, including when giving feedback.
    • This group has a moderate tendency to be frank when communicating – which could be a cause of poor productivity when the pressure is on.
    • This group has little desire for others to be diplomatic during discussions and when giving feedback.
    • This group has a moderate tendency to be diplomatic when communicating – so neither a strong tendency to be frank or diplomatic; is there any real communication going on?

    The individual’s communication expectations

    Of course, there may be employees who don’t want to be burdened with overly frank conversations that make them feel under pressure. Likewise, someone may want honesty and forthright speaking but is unwilling to give it back in return.

    Asking the right questions, and analysing each individual employee’s real engagement factors ensures managers and the wider organisation provide an environment that retains the best talent.

    communication expectations for individuals and groups

    Communication Expectations: Frankness and Diplomacy

    Getting the communication mix right both for an individual and groups of staff can be hard work, especially if views on its importance are divergent within a department.

    A line manager may wish to be more frank with his staff but is being held back by those higher up, or they may not want to upset someone who is naturally introverted.

    It’s a fine balance to achieve and knowing what communication expectations individuals have can help develop the engagement strategy that has more chance of working, tailoring it to specific needs and behaviours within the workplace.

    Wants Frankness

    • The desire for others to be direct, straightforward, and to the point
    • For many people, being able to have a frank conversation where they can speak their mind is important, particularly in difficult situations such as department reorganisations where things can naturally get a little fraught.
    • In return they expect to receive honest feedback so that they know what the true situation is and can organise their working life in respect of this information. That could be about the future of their department, the quality of their work or their prospects of getting that new promotion.

    Is Frank

    • The tendency to be straightforward, direct, to the point, and forthright
    • Whilst we all expect some honesty in the office, it’s not always the case that we give it back in return. This is seen by most businesses as a two-way street and employees have to be prepared to be honest and have the confidence to express their opinion.
    • It’s not easy for some employees to always speak their mind and enter into a frank discussion. They may be worried what their boss or colleagues are going to think or they might not want to damage their chances of moving up in the company by raising an important but negative issue or making a complaint.

    Wants Diplomacy

    • The desire for others to be tactful
    • You can, of course, be too frank and, especially in the work place everything needs to be balanced by a healthy dose of diplomacy. This can be a difficult equation to get right even for the most talented of supervisors or employers.
    • Most employees want their fellow workers, including bosses, to be polite and present themselves in a respectful way.  Others prefer to hear it straight with no waffle, and find staff who are overly diplomatic as evasive or time wasting.

    Is Diplomatic

    • The tendency to state things in a tactful manner
    • Again, wanting diplomacy in the workplace is a different thing from being diplomatic yourself. This can be affected by many factors including how secure an individual feels in work and how they view other members of staff.

    Using Harrison Assessments Talent Solutions to understand communication expectations

    Managers can measure an number of key employee expectations, the intrinsic behaviours that drive individual and group engagement. This helps to understand any differences between an employee as well as looking at the overall group or team’s expectations. These insights facilitate the essential dialogue between employee and manager, fostering a shared responsibility for engagement to build a culture of employee engagement.

    Managers can use the Manage, Develop and Retain report as a guide to getting the best performance out of an individual member of their team, and shows how mis-matched communication and management styles could potentially demotivate a talented employee. Instead the report suggests how best to develop and engage the employee, what type of tasks to delegate and behaviours to watch out for that could impede performance.

    Employee Engagement White Paper

    • This employee engagement white paper will outline why this is the case and what is needed to achieve a greater impact on organisational performance.
    • It includes some key areas relating to engagement in the workplace and a crucial 3-step guide to assist with the application of engagement analytics.
    • Written by Dan Harrison, Ph.D. – Organisational Psychology, developer and CEO of Harrison Assessments, this white paper is a must read for anyone involved in employee engagement.  Request your copy here –
    • Please leave this field empty.

  2. Social Expectations – engaging your team

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    Social Expectations in the Workplace

    This fourth article on the 8 areas of employee expectation looks at social expectations in the workplace and their impact on employee engagement.

    Employee ExpectationsThe greater part of a worker’s day is spent in the work environment, so not surprisingly employees want good relationships with the people whom they spend the majority of their time with: their immediate co-workers, other employees, supervisors and bosses.

    Of course, not everyone is socially outgoing; some people are introverted and find it difficult to engage. Others see work as a necessary function of putting food on the table, want to get the job done and go home with as little work socialising as possible.

    Rather than assuming what team member’s social expectations are, managers can now explore an individual’s personality and work related preferences for social interactions.

    The organisational view

    When social engagement is lacking the result is poor productivity, low morale and ultimately higher staff turnover.

    According to research, ’employees that are social’ are more likely to be engaged at work, however it is one of the more difficult areas to measure accurately, and the results need to be considered alongside other engagement factors if organisations are to meet their employee’s social expectations.

    Perhaps the biggest challenge for organisations is finding the right balance. Being too social may lead to a drop in productivity, and whilst social activities outside of work are good for team bonding there is a risk of cliques developing which impact day-to-day dynamics.

    Does everyone in the group have the same social expectations?

    Finding out what employee’s social expectations are can be highly enlightening; by using Harrison Assessments engagement and retention analytics we can explore them in detail.

    social expectations group analysis

    What can we interpret for this group?

    • This group has only a moderate desire to have social opportunities related to work.
    • This group has a reasonable tendency to be outgoing.
    • Since this group tends to be outgoing, the manager probably only need to organise some employee social events from time to time to meet this need.

    The individual’s career development expectations

    Asking the right questions, and analysing each individual employee’s real engagement factors ensures managers and the wider organisation provide an environment that retains the best talent. People want to feel recognised but there are many other factors that need to be understood if they are to further engage in their work and the overall success of the organisation.

    individual social expectations

    What social expectations do employees have?

    Here are two social expectations that can be measured and reported upon from the Harrison Assessment:

    Wants Social Opportunities

    • The desire to have a workplace that enables one to meet and interact with others
    • A gregarious individual will want to meet new people, forge relationships and engage in social activities and this can either be a hindrance or a positive thing depending on the employee’s situation and given role.
    • It could mean, for instance, that an employee is too easily distracted and may not get on with their work productively.
    • It could also mean that they are being held back because they are in an environment where social interaction is curtailed in some way.
    • For managers in particular the desire for social opportunities can often undermine their performance.
    • It can also have the opposite effect if they decide to curtail social interaction because they want to ‘appear’ in charge.
    • Getting the balance right can often be difficult especially for those who are new to their role.

    Outgoing Personality

    • The tendency to be socially extroverted and the enjoyment of meeting new people
    • The fact that an employee is more extrovert could make him or her a good candidate for customer facing roles but also brain storming sessions as they are more likely to express their views and helping to boost morale in the workplace when the pressure is on.
    • It could also mean, of course, that a particular employee or supervisor has trouble ensuring that the staff under them follow the rules and processes of the company – something that may need to be monitored and further training and guidance provided for.
    • An employee may want a better degree of social interaction in the workplace but they are too introverted to make it happen. Providing the right support and facilitating interactions can help bring this person out of their shell and help them engage more effectively and contribute fully.

    Using Harrison Assessments Talent Solutions to understand social expectations

    Managers can measure employee expectations, the intrinsic behaviours that drive individual and group engagement, by analysing the 8 key expectation areas. This helps to understand any differences between an employee as well as looking at the overall group or team’s expectations. These insights facilitate the essential dialogue between employee and manager, fostering a shared responsibility for engagement to build a culture of employee engagement.

    Managers can use the Manage, Develop and Retain report as a guide to getting the best performance out of an individual member of their team, and shows how mis-matched communication and management styles could potentially demotivate a talented employee. Instead the report suggests how best to develop and engage the employee, what type of tasks to delegate and behaviours to watch out for that could impede performance.

    Employee Engagement White Paper

    • This employee engagement white paper will outline why this is the case and what is needed to achieve a greater impact on organisational performance.
    • It includes some key areas relating to engagement in the workplace and a crucial 3-step guide to assist with the application of engagement analytics.
    • Written by Dan Harrison, Ph.D. – Organisational Psychology, developer and CEO of Harrison Assessments, this white paper is a must read for anyone involved in employee engagement.  Request your copy here –
    • Please leave this field empty.

  3. Identifying Career Development Expectations – before the competition does

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    Development Expectations

    This third article on the 8 areas of employee expectation, and their impact on effective employee engagement and retention, looks at the career development expectations of the team and individual team members.

    Employee ExpectationsOne of the major reasons for losing talented staff is that they are not being given the career development opportunities they often think they deserve or expect, and look elsewhere. So understanding and exploring employees career development expectations is another key factor for engaging and retaining top talent.

    The organisational view

    Employees generally want to be good at their job and the vast majority, some 76% according to statistics, are looking for some kind of career growth and development. This could include access to training, being given the opportunity to gain experience in particular fields and having the prospect of advancing in their career through promotion.

    • What if an employee wants development but is not highly motivated or the business doesn’t have the right opportunities currently to promote them?

    Understanding what makes up each team member’s individual career development expectations is essential to identify those who truly want advancement and a desire for self improvement. Some team members may be very enthusiastic for development, buy may not want the challenges that come with it.

    For managers to develop their teams they need to know how expectations are made up so they can engage in meaningful conversations to identify a clear and achievable pathway for career development within the organisation.  For organisations they need to demonstrate development and staff mobility options if they are to retain their best people.

    The group’s career development expectations

    Organisational policies are great but how relevant to the group or team, and what is really important to them? Does everyone in the group have the same career development expectations and needs? Using Harrison Assessments engagement and retention analytics we can find out.

    career development expectations for the group

    What can we interpret for this group?

    • it considers career development to be very important and thus, it is very important to provide development opportunities.
    • this group has a reasonable tendency to be clear about goals, so will probably have career development goals in mind. Discuss these goals to obtain a clear understanding before suggesting or creating a development plan.
    • the group considers self-improvement to be reasonably important and may be reasonably willing to develop new competencies related to career development.
    • career advancement is reasonably important and so it is important to provide information about advancement opportunities that are available and what is required to achieve them.
    • the group is willing to pursue difficult challenges related to career advancement. If advancement is considered, they will probably embrace any challenges related to advancement.

    The individual’s career development expectations

    For line managers, understanding an individual’s development expectations, as well as their own expectations and behaviours, has never been more important to retain the best talent and develop their team’s full potential.

    Asking the right questions, and analysing each individual employee’s real engagement factors ensures managers and the wider organisation provide an environment that retains the best talent. People want to feel recognised but there are many other factors that need to be understood if they are to further engage in their work and the overall success of the organisation.

    Individual career development expectations

    What career development expectations do employees have?

    Here are five career development elements that can be measured and reported upon from the Harrison Assessment:

    Wants Development

    • The desire to have work opportunities to learn new skills or increase abilities
    • Many employees want to move forward with their careers and not remain stagnant. They realise there are many opportunities that could be taken if they just had the right skills set. While meeting this particular expectation is important for organisations that want more employee engagement it comes with a few caveats. The employee may want further development and expect it but they also need to have the personal qualities to take on new ways of thinking, accept challenging study, and potentially move into new areas.

    Is Enthusiastic

    • The tendency to be eager and excited toward one’s own goals
    • Enthusiasm for career development and pushing forward down a particular career path can be a prime motivational key to success. If the employee’s enthusiasm is selective, however, it can be problematic particularly if there are certain areas that need to be developed that are a little too much like ‘hard work’. One of the reasons why employees often fail on the developmental pathway is that they don’t have a clear idea of where they are heading nor enough markers along the way to ensure that their enthusiasm stays high and their performance and abilities improve as a consequence.

    Wants Self-Improvement

    • The tendency to attempt to develop or better oneself
    • An employee’s engagement with developmental processes such as study courses and new challenges are often part of their own ethos of self-improvement. Some will make their own choices and work towards personal goals such as undertaking a degree or Masters qualification. Supporting this desire for self-improvement is imperative for companies that want to show they are behind their staff but it can also be financially burdensome if many employees are following the same track.

    Wants Advancement

    • The desire to have work opportunities to expand one’s career or responsibilities
    • Career minded employees will certainly want the opportunity of advancing within the company or elsewhere. If their expectations are that the opportunities will not come in their current position, top talent will eventually want to look elsewhere. Combined with the reality of what the company actually offers in the way of training and support, a clear way to advance is very important and needs to be demonstrated if the talent is to be retained for any length of time.

    Wants Challenge

    • The willingness to attempt difficult tasks or goals
    • Career minded individuals will no doubt be relishing their next challenge but if their expectations of the organisation are that it offers the same fayre day after day then they may soon start to lose focus and even become bored. Also important is what constitutes a challenge to a particular employee. For some it may simply be about getting through a large workload. Others may want the challenge of project management such as helping to develop a new product or service and market it or being put in charge of other staff in their own department.

    Using Harrison Assessments Talent Solution to understand career development expectations

    Managers can measure employee expectations, the intrinsic behaviours that drive individual and group engagement, by analysing the 8 key expectation areas. This helps to understand any differences between an employee as well as looking at the overall group or team’s expectations. These insights facilitate the essential dialogue between employee and manager, fostering a shared responsibility for engagement to build a culture of employee engagement.

    Managers can use the Manage, Develop and Retain report as a guide to getting the best performance out of an individual member of their team, and shows how mis-matched communication and management styles could potentially demotivate a talented employee. Instead the report suggests how best to develop and engage the employee, what type of tasks to delegate and behaviours to watch out for that could impede performance.

    Employee Engagement White Paper

    • This employee engagement white paper will outline why this is the case and what is needed to achieve a greater impact on organisational performance.
    • It includes some key areas relating to engagement in the workplace and a crucial 3-step guide to assist with the application of engagement analytics.
    • Written by Dan Harrison, Ph.D. – Organisational Psychology, developer and CEO of Harrison Assessments, this white paper is a must read for anyone involved in employee engagement.  Request your copy here –
    • Please leave this field empty.

  4. Work-life Balance – what organisations do wrong

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    Work-Life Balance – Employee Expectations

    In this second article on the 8 areas of employee expectation, and their impact on effective employee engagement and retention, we look at work-life balance.Employee Expectations

    Although much has been said and written about work-life balance, the focus has been on organisation-wide policies and initiatives, but what about individual employee’s real needs and those of their team colleagues?

    The organisational view

    Most organisations recognise their responsibilities towards their employees in maintaining a healthy work-life balance, and the long-term benefits that follow.  However, according to The Mental Health Foundation some 40% of us have neglected important parts of our lives because of work and slogging it out for long hours is likely to cause feelings of depression in nearly a third of people.

    Today’s workforce obviously wants to earn enough money to live on and also have the time to enjoy the fruits of their labours. Previously its importance grew with one’s tenure; as we become more competent at our jobs our priorities also change, for instance, when we start a family or want to work closer to home. A new report from the Centre for the Modern Family, however, says only a third of UK families claim to have a healthy ‘work family balance’.

    However, for young people joining the workforce today work-like balance is just as important. Millennials, globally, are more likely than other generations to say it is important to receive paid parental leave onsite or subsidised childcare and telecommuting 1-2 days a week according to the EY Global Generations survey.

    So what are organisations doing wrong?

    Traditional engagement surveys have evolved from the old style satisfaction surveys which tend to have answers quantified on a scale in relation to generic questions, and are usually anonymous which further undermines their reliability. Traditional engagement surveys can’t get into the specific expectations of individuals or groups in any detail, and so only measure broad perceptions of satisfaction.

    To get it right the full range of expectations unique to every employee has to be captured, analysed and monitored on a regular basis. Proper expectation analytics in the hands of managers who believe in their people can start a meaningful, personalised conversation that can lead to high levels of engagement.

    The group view

    Organisational policies are great but how relevant to the group or team, and what is really important to them? Does everyone in the group have the same expectations and needs? Using Harrison Assessments engagement and retention analytics we can find out.

    Work-life balance group distribution

    What can we interpret for this group?

    • it considers having work-life balance to be only moderately important
    • it considers having flexible work time to be reasonably unimportant
    • it has a tendency to be moderately relaxed and easy going
    • it tends to be moderately effective managing stress when it occurs
    • it tends to be moderately willing to deal with the pressure of tight schedules and deadlines.

    The individual employee view

    In a recent report from Investors in People’s Job Exodus Trends a 34% of employees would prefer a more flexible approach to working hours than a 3% pay rise, and alarmingly 49% of the UK workforce are looking for a new job in 2016.

    For line managers, understanding an individual’s expectations as well as their own expectations and behaviours has never been more important to retain the best talent and develop their team’s full potential.

    work-life balance expectations

    Asking the right questions, and analysing each individual employee’s real engagement factors ensures managers and the wider organisation provide an environment that retains the best talent. People want to feel recognised but there are many other factors that need to be understood if they are to further engage in their work and the overall success of the organisation.


    What makes up Work-life balance?

    Finding out how employees think about work-life balance, and its importance to an individual, is the starting point to measure whether organisational strategies are having the desired effect, and more importantly for line managers to identify potential issues. Here are five work-life balance elements that can be measured and reported upon from the Harrison Assessment:

    Wants Work-life Balance

    • The desire to have sufficient time away from work for rest, enjoyment, or family
    • Most individuals, unless they are confirmed workaholics, want to be able to maintain a healthy work-life balance but this does vary between people. Some may be working hard to forge a career and climb up the corporate ladder, others might just want to come in and get the job done as quickly as possible. Some will not even realise that their work-life balance is off kilter and may need someone to point it out to them so they don’t suffer from burn out.

    Wants Flexible Work Time

    • The desire to have adjustable working hours or holiday schedules
    • One way of maintaining a good balance, of course, is offering flexible work time. This may important to certain individuals who have a family or are providing care for a sick or elderly relative, for instance. It could be less important to someone who is just out of college and is looking to push ahead with their career. Offering flexible working can be challenging for any organisation and implementing the right strategy is key to providing employees with the best option for their needs.

    Is Relaxed

    • The tendency to feel at ease or calm while working
    • How relaxed an employee is at work can be an indication that they feel part of the team and are happy with everything that is going within the company. They get on with their work colleagues and have little in the way of issues that need to be settled. It is usually an indication too that they have a good work-life balance in place.

    Manages Stress Well

    • The tendency to deal effectively with strain and difficulty when it occurs
    • We all encounter stress and for the large part this is a good thing. It’s part of the challenge of working in a busy office where a lot is going on. When that stress becomes unmanageable, though, things can become difficult. An employee who feels they are having problems coping with work and the stress that comes with it is likely to be less productive and unhappy.

    Has a High/Low Pressure Tolerance

    • The level of comfort related to working under deadlines and busy schedules
    • Tolerance to pressure situations is another area where useful employee information can be collected to find those who perform the best when the work is the most challenging. Those who are able to maintain a good work-life balance and manage day to day stress are more likely to cope with high pressure moments whilst others might need more support to help them get through these periods.

    How Harrison Assessments Talent Solution helps

    Managers can measure employee expectations, the intrinsic behaviours that drive individual and group engagement, by analysing the 8 key expectation areas. This helps to understand any differences between an employee as well as looking at the overall group or team’s expectations. These insights facilitate the essential dialogue between employee and manager, fostering a shared responsibility for engagement to build a culture of employee engagement.

    Managers can use the Manage, Develop and Retain report as a guide to getting the best performance out of an individual member of their team, and shows how mis-matched communication and management styles could potentially demotivate a talented employee. Instead the report suggests how best to develop and engage the employee, what type of tasks to delegate and behaviours to watch out for that could impede performance.

    Employee Engagement White Paper

    • This employee engagement white paper will outline why this is the case and what is needed to achieve a greater impact on organisational performance.
    • It includes some key areas relating to engagement in the workplace and a crucial 3-step guide to assist with the application of engagement analytics.
    • Written by Dan Harrison, Ph.D. – Organisational Psychology, developer and CEO of Harrison Assessments, this white paper is a must read for anyone involved in employee engagement.  Request your copy here –
    • Please leave this field empty.