Employee Engagement Depends on Management of Career Expectations

The start of a new year is an ideal time to reflect on the last 12-months, celebrating achievements and planning ways to make things better. This is an opportunity to review best practices and revamp a few processes -- from recruitment to employee engagement. 

With unemployment rates still hovering at their lowest in 40 years, it’s still going to be a challenge attracting and gaining access to the top talent out there; and even more difficult to keep them interested in working for your company long-term. Jenn Labin Chief Talent and Diversity Officer for MentorcliQ, who writes for HR Technologist, advises, “Millennials are arriving at final interviews armed with a set of non-negotiables” and they won’t take ‘no’ for an answer. 

How can your company manage the expectations of the latest crop of candidates who are making additional demands on hiring companies? 

It turns out that management must work hard to address and communicate these career must-haves in terms of a carefully designed and personal career plan for each new hire. Some of the items that job seekers have on their list this year include: 

  • An increasing requirement to work remotely and flexible schedules
  • Progressive professional development and formal mentoring programs
  • Organizations that are socially-responsible and align with their “give-back” values
  • Work projects that gain them recognition and respect from peers 
  • Above-average starting salary and other financial/life management support

One area that is often overlooked by recruitment is having a long-term solution that can meet the expectations of the candidate, while giving the company a chance to develop the new hire into a highly productive member of the team. Labin points out, “Today’s young professionals want convenient access to professional growth paths. They want a company culture that promotes and supports professional development.” Having access to a structure career development program can help foster employee retention and ultimately engagement. 

Moving into 2020, does your organization have a plan for improving employee engagement in both your current and future hires? 

Interestingly, maintaining open dialogue about opportunities for career advancement and learning can influence employee engagement. A Quantum Workplace study shows a clear link between frequent career conversations and employee engagement rates. The study revealed, “82 percent of employees who have conversations with management more than once a month about their career are highly engaged, compared to the 53 percent who only talk about their careers once a year or less” (probably during the dreaded performance review). 

How to set expectations with employees to increase engagement and career success 

It’s possible to set expectations with new hires from their first encounter with your employer brand and throughout their experience as a worker.  How can you do this? Try some of our tips here:

Tip #1 - Set the stage for success. 

Create content around the company’s efforts to provide a learning-rich environment. This should be worked into your company brand and all materials that candidates see. Bring it up during the interview to find out what each candidate hopes to achieve and how the company is focused on helping individuals realize their career goals. 

Tip #2 - Maintain open communication. 

Develop open communication channels that allow candidates and new hires to express themselves. This can vary by employee so make sure there are several ways they can communicate with management. Likewise, send out regular messaging about new career opportunities and learning events in the company via email, text, and through direct meetings with management.

Tip #3 - Draft a living career plan. 

As each new hire starts his or her journey, make sure they have a career plan that is adaptable to changes in the company and the industry. This will appeal to Millennials because they often don't know exactly what they want to be doing until they’ve been with a company for a period of time. Think of this as a living breathing career plan of action that will grow as they grow and maintain their interests. 

Tip #4 - Support employee progress. 

Use plenty of employee recognition and praise to help keep employees engaged in the work they are doing. Give them all the tools and resources needed to be successful in whatever path they take. This can take the form of technology, education, mentoring, and management coaching. 

Tip #5 - Find opportunities for learning.

Every supervisor should be finding ways to help employees learn both on the job and through other means. Industry conferences and fairs can be a great way to get employees excited about the future with your company, while they mingle with peers and earn a glimpse of their future. This experience can spur new ideas too. 

If you haven’t already done so, take some time this week to run employee retention reports, departmental employee engagement, and employee productivity reports to review what needs some attention. Then take some of the above steps to make it happen.


Thymometrics provides the tools you need to help manage your staff's career expectations and take definitive actions that improve employee engagement. Through real time, always-on surveys and feedback solutions, we provide revolutionary yet simple tools to empower employees and monitor wellbeing whilst providing managers with deep and useable insights to improve business culture, productivity and profitability.

For more information, please call 01223 750251, email info@thymometrics.com or visit thymometrics.com.

Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash