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Employee expectations from leadership
How it varies across geographies, personality types and job functions
Issue Date - 01/04/2013
In the first phase of the study, a pan-India survey was conducted amongst human resources (HR) directors and heads to understand ‘the key expectations of employees from their leaders/managers.’ Each respondent was asked to name at least 10 expectations that the employees of their company have from their manager. Using the techniques of telephonic and email interviews, our research team was able to collate answers from 191 respondents. The stratified random sampling technique was used to conduct this study – senior HR and Personnel Heads (VP and above) were selected from the four regions of India (North, South, East, West). The responses received from the various zones were clubbed, and these were clubbed into 180 buckets, based on the frequency of the response, for the purpose of preliminary analysis. Based on this, the top 34 statements (and others, making a total of 35 statements) were generated for further study going into the second phase.

Among the 180 unique answers that we obtained from amongst the HR directors on what their team members expected from them, the overwhelming majority (over 160 respondents) admitted that they expected ‘guidance and support’ first and foremost from their managers. Perhaps this points to the gradual increase in the use of mentoring and coaching for today’s employees. Second in priority, with about 90 people supporting it, we saw ‘recognition and appreciation’, and third on the list was ‘transparency and fairness’ with a substantial 65 respondents listing the trait as an essential to a good leader. 

Phase two implied the initiation of the second survey, by designing a structured questionnaire that contained the 35 final statements from phase one. This questionnaire was circulated across 13 cities, to employees below the designation of vice-president, from the fields of Marketing and Sales; HR and Administration; Information Technology (IT); Finance, and others. The responses were captured using the simple random technique from 800 respondents pan-India. Each respondent was asked to rate his/her expectations from the leader on each of the 35 statements, along a scale of 0 to 4 (where 0=Strongly Disagree, 1=Disagree, 2=Neither agree nor disagree, 3=Agree, and 4=Strongly Agree). Their responses were collated based on the mean scores for each statement, per the different geographical regions and the functional sectors.

Here, where we had the team members/employees themselves rating each parameter on a scale of 0 to 4, the highest rating, incidentally, coincided with what the leaders believed to be most important – guidance and support.

The findings gave us confidence on the validity and relevance of our research methodology, and it was a pleasant surprise to learn that today’s Indian leaders are well-connected to the needs of their employees. Next on the list, was the call for a ‘favourable work environment’, thus proving that the creation of work culture and ethic lies in the hand of the leadership. The third place was a tie between ‘providing recognition and appreciation’, another point in tandem with the HR directors, and ‘clarity of job role’ 

The overall picture that seems to be coming together suggest that there is correlations between the job function, the geography as well as the personality with respect to expectations that an employee has from their leader in the Indian context.

Arindam Chaudhuri           

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