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8 Things Employees Expect At Work

engagement Dec 17, 2019

Regardless of the type of work you do, you’re expecting some things from your workplace. They may not be top of mind, but they’re there, further down, lingering deep. Or they may be top of mind, like a checklist running through your head. Either way, your expectations will find their way out and into your work, relationships, and attitude.

It would be nice to know what employees are expecting. That’s where Gallup comes in. As I shared in “The Epidemic of the American Workforce,” Gallup recently published its 2017 State of the American Workplace report. Gathering data from more than 195,000 employees and 31 million survey respondents, the report looks at the American workforce.

Here are eight things employees expect at work. Which are true for you?

Frequent communication with their manager

Many organizations have thrown out annual performance reviews in favor of more frequent conversations with their managers. Employees want to communicate often with their managers about work, growth, and goals. On a regular basis, they want to know how they’re doing.

Development opportunities

Employees are expecting their workplaces to develop them. “What do you have in place to help me grow?” a recent job candidate asked as I interviewed him. Organizations that have deliberate programs to grow employees will stand out as the employers of choice.

Flexibility and autonomy

Workers are looking for flexibility and autonomy. They want to be trusted to do their work. Instead of having a micromanager who dictates the way to the role and outcome, employees want to get there themselves.


As coaching becomes more popular, employees are expecting to be coached. Coaching can take a variety of forms and what happens in a coaching session can vary. According to the 2016 ICF Global Coaching Study, there are about 53,000 professional coaches who are internal or external to organizations and 11,000 managers or leaders who use coaching skills within their organizations.

Stability and security

Workers want to feel their job is secure and their organization is stable. They want to communicate often with their manager, understand what is being expected, and know ahead of time when changes are coming.

Engaged and motivated

An engaged employee is “involved in, enthusiastic about, and committed to their work and workplace.” Employees want to be engaged and motivated. Currently, only 33% of employees in the United States and 15% of employees in the world are engaged in their work.

Meaningful work

Doing work that matters is an expectation of today’s workers. They want to have purpose and meaning behind what they do. After all, most employees spend more time working than doing anything else. They want to make it count.

Use their talents and strengths

Lastly, employees want to use their talents and strengths to accomplish their work. Studies show that employees who use their strengths every day are “three times as likely to report having an excellent quality of life and are six times as likely to be engaged in their job.”

Whether employee expectations are top-of-mind or deeper down, they’re changing today’s workplace. If you’re an organizational leader, how can you address them? If you’re an employee, how can you bring them to your leaders’ attention? Employee expectations aren't going away, how will you lead them?


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