Employee Behavior: Definition, Issues & Expectations

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  • 0:01 Definition
  • 0:33 Influential Forces
  • 2:08 Employer Expectations
  • 3:26 Employee Issues
  • 4:04 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Paul Mckinney

Paul has been in higher education for 17 years. He has a master's degree and is earning his PhD in Community College Leadership.

Employee behavior can either help or hurt an organization. In this lesson, we'll explore the definition of employee behavior, as well as employer expectations and some of the issues that arise in the workplace.


The term employee behavior, refers to the way in which employees respond to specific circumstances or situations in the workplace. While many elements determine an individual's behavior in the workplace, employees are shaped by their culture and by the organization's culture.

Personal and corporate culture affect the way employees communicate and interact with one another and with management. Additionally, an employee's beliefs affect his or her ethics and sense of ethical responsibility.

Influential Forces

Companies rely on employees to produce and deliver high-quality products and services. Employee behavior is impacted by a variety of forces, both internal and external, as they attempt to perform their job duties. Employers who are aware of these forces, and who are prepared to leverage or counteract them, can have a positive impact on the employee's behavior. Below are a few of the forces that influence employee behavior:

Positive environment: A critical, internal force that influences employee behavior is the actions of colleagues. Companies that can effectively build an internal culture that is based on mutual respect, teamwork, and support will attract and retain employees with good behavior.

Technology: Technology is a significant factor that can have both positive and disruptive influences on employee behavior. While technology can often help streamline processes and make work easier for employees, learning how to use new technology while remaining productive can be stressful. Factor in the rapid advent of technology, in general, and employers seem to be faced with an almost ongoing need for new training, process improvement, and documentation.

Customer demands: Customer demands can be an external force that exerts pressure on organizations to continually stay ahead of the competitive curve. Employees must adapt to the changing needs of customers, the growing shrewdness of customers, and the heightened expectations that customers put on employee behavior.

Employer Expectations

One of the largest expenses to any organization is the cost of labor. Good managers work hard to set the expectations for each employee. This is done through:

  • In-service meetings
  • Monthly staff meetings
  • Annual reviews
  • Overall culture of an organization

Most employers expect their employees to work towards accomplishing the organization's goals and, ultimately, its mission. Let's look at a few examples of how a manager can set the right expectation of his or her employees:

Connect: Leaders must show that they value their employees. Employee engagement is a direct reflection of how employees feel about their relationship with the boss. This connection can help set the right expectation for the employees.

Contribute: Employees want to know that their input matters and that they are contributing to the organization's success in a meaningful way. When they are allowed to contribute, their behavior about the organization becomes positive.

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