What Employees Owe Employers

Shawnee Love   •   September 14, 2018

There is a whole lot of information and recommendations around what employers should do for their employees to engage them and retain them.

Employees are well informed about what “good employers” will provide them and aren’t shy about asking for what they believe are their due.

However, there seems to be less information about what employers can expect from their employees.  You’d think things like loyalty would go without saying, but lately it seems like spelling it out is necessary.

This blog attempts to clarify what you as an employer have the right to expect from your employees and therefore can hold them accountable for.  Beyond performing their job duties and accomplishing their responsibilities, employees can be expected to be:

  1. Loyal- Loyalty includes acting in a fashion which supports the best interests of the company (even while on personal time in situations where the person could affect company reputation), and demonstrating good judgement in making decisions (from spending to strategy).
  2. Discrete- Discretion includes maintaining confidentiality of company information which isn’t publicly known as well as the information of customers, colleagues, suppliers etc.
  3. Honest- Honesty includes being truthful, as well as using company resources for the purpose intended, and abiding by ethics, policies, laws, and instructions.
  4. Competent (once trained)-  Competency includes doing their job, and working safely, carefully (with the goal of quality workmanship) and efficiently.
  5. Respectful- Respect includes interacting civilly and courteously at all times and being tolerant towards differences of opinion, ideas, backgrounds, beliefs, etc.

Even though you have the right to expect and hold your employees accountable for these 5 behaviours, it helps if you educate to ensure everyone knows your expectations.  You can educate by:

  • For Current Employees:
    • Putting it all in writing.  E.g., include these expectations in your offer letter, policy manual, “about us” section on your website or intranet, etc.
    • Recognizing people who meet these standards and disciplining those who don’t.
  • For Candidates:
    • Interviewing candidates about how they have met these expectations in the past.
    • Asking candidates’ references regarding whether the candidate demonstrated these behaviours.

Employees won’t live up to expectations they aren’t aware of, so it pays to ensure your minimum expectations are clear to the people who work for you.