While so many have been out there talking about “Quiet Quitting” (where employees decide to stick it to companies by doing what they were hired to do?), I’ve been sitting back fantasizing about an HR world where everyone meets expectations. A world where everyone comes in on time, understands their responsibilities, keeps their commitments, all while doing so with the minimum courtesy of a reasonable human. While daydreaming about this, I question if that would mean less job security for me since I spend a substantial amount of time dealing with employee relations issues, usually of the petty kind. Alas, I think the dream is still worth it.
Throughout the years, a recurring conversation I’ve had with supervisors is the real value of the steady, meets expectations employee. I’ve repeatedly shared with the supervisors I support (especially around performance review time) that it would be pretty awesome if every employee was the type who is consistently rated “meets expectations”. At first I received push back because “why would we want a bunch of average employees”? Reframing from that mindset to understanding this means that they are doing their job to acceptable levels took time. It took years in fact.
The middle of the road, punctual, steady employee who comes in, does their job, then goes home without drama or unrealistic demands of their peers or leaders is quite refreshing. They are the ones who are consistent, dependable, and a general joy to work with. This is not to say those who exceed expectations are not also those things, but since the extremes are just that, they are not as common. Even though that is the case, we sometimes neglect those we can most depend on while either over emphasizing the “exceeds expectations” minority or at the other extreme, expending a lot of energy trying to coach and counsel those who are struggling, either through behavioral or productivity performance issues, inability, or poor match to the requirements of a position.
The dream of the “meets expectations” employee being the standard is worth it because if it were reality, I could theoretically focus my time in developing that group to further maximize their potential within their roles and beyond. It seems the return on investment would be favorable given that historically, they’ve met expectations!
If the current trend is for employees to determine, “Huh. You know what? I am going to do my work to the minimum required and then have my time to do what I want” I see this as a win. This means that employees are taking the initiative to understand what their responsibilities are for the job and pay they have and are committing to accomplishing just that on a daily basis. I’m giddy at the thought that we can see an increase in employees consistently meeting expectations.
Perhaps soon we will all be able to say:
Good job everyone!