Managing relationships with employees

Last updated: January 21, 2018

To create and maintain positive relationships with your employees, you need to clearly communicate expectations and follow up in a consistent, fair and timely manner when expectations are not met.

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Communicating with your employees

Regular communication with your employees builds stronger relationships and provides opportunities to give timely feedback.

You may choose to meet monthly, bi-weekly or even weekly to check in, provide feedback and offer support.

MyPerformance is one way the BC Public Service supports the relationship between employee and supervisor.

To be effective, both supervisors and employees must actively participate in the performance management process, and have open and honest discussions about the employee’s performance.

Learn more about the performance management process:

Promoting respect in the workplace

Respectful behaviour displays personal integrity and professionalism, practices fairness and understanding, demonstrates respect for individual rights and differences and encourages accountability for one's actions.

Respectful workplaces don't just happen, they're built.

As a supervisor, it's part of your role to help promote a healthy and respectful workplace.

Learn how to promote respect in the workplace.

Setting expectations

BC Public Service employees are expected to act responsibly and perform their assigned duties.

They're expected to meet standards for attendance, performance and behaviour.

They must comply with the Oath of Employment and Standards of Conduct.

Role of the supervisor or manager

It's your role as a supervisor or manager to:

  • Define and communicate expectations for employees
  • Provide the appropriate tools and support  
  • Act fairly and in a timely fashion when expectations are not met

Managers and supervisors are responsible for making sure employees understand and abide by:

If the employee does not adhere to the rules and policies, the supervisor must make sure the employee is aware of the consequences.

Supervisors and managers are responsible for training, coaching, counselling, mentoring and setting a good example.

If these approaches fail, disciplinary action may be necessary.

For information about discipline and the process that must be followed before applying discipline, review Identifying employee misconduct

When expectations are not met

When expectations are not met, follow up with your employee.

When following up, be prompt, consistent, fair and respectful.

Depending on the severity of the issue, you might:

  • Meet right away
  • Wait for a regularly scheduled meeting
  • Issue your employee a letter of expectations
  • Contact the BC Public Service Agency for advice and support

If the issue is related to employee misconduct that may result in discipline, review Managing problems with an employee for the steps you need to follow.  

For advice and support related to employee behaviour and performance, submit an AskMyHR (IDIR restricted) service request, using the categories My Team/Organization > Employee & Labour Relations > Managing Behaviour.

Letter of expectations

The purpose of a letter of expectations (LoE) is to provide guidance, communicate expectations and reduce future misunderstandings.

The letter should be specific about accountabilities and responsibilities.

A LoE is not disciplinary.

It should not refer to the specifics of the situation, behavior or activity.

The letter should not be accusatory. Avoid using the word 'you'; instead use language such as 'employees are expected to.'

The letter should:

  • Be generic enough that anyone in the same role could receive it
  • Be future looking
  • Be proactive
  • Be positive in tone
  • Ensure there is no type of warning
  • Contain no reference to past meetings
  • Reference no other documents on file

When to issue a letter of expectations

The letter can address a particular situation, behaviour or activity and can be provided to:

  • Employees who are new to government
  • Employees who have moved to a new position or role within government
  • All employees if there is a change to the organization, and /or when warranted

Examples of situations, behaviours or activities that could be addressed by issuing a LoE include but are not limited to:

  • Absences
  • Conduct/behaviour
  • Confidentiality
  • Hours of work
  • Internet and government resources
  • Leaves
  • Dress code
  • Work assignments

Before you issue a letter of expectations

Before you issue a LoE, submit an AskMyHR (IDIR restricted) service request, using the categories My Team/Organization > Employee & Labour Relations > Managing Work Performance

A human resources advisor provides advice on the topic, content, tone, appropriateness of the letter, as well as the applicable collective agreement language.   

Sample letters

These letters are samples only.


  • Provide the original LoE to the employee
  • Keep a copy in your supervisor file
  • Scan and upload a copy to an AskMyHR (IDIR restricted) service request, for the employee personnel file. Use the categories My Team/Organization > Employee & Labour Relations >  Employee Personnel File.

For more information on employee personnel files, review Managing employee records.

Contact AskMyHR

Submit an AskMyHR (IDIR restricted) service request, using the categories My Team/Organization > Employee & Labour Relations > Managing Behaviour.

Your service request will be sent directly to a human resource adviser who can assist you

If you're a B.C. government employee without an IDIR, call the BC Public Service Agency to submit your service request.