Managing Relationships With Employees

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.

Learn about tools and resources to set up and maintain positive relationships with your team:

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 are built. As a supervisor, it is part of your role to help promote a healthy and respectful workplace. Learn how to promote respect in the workplace with tools such as meeting in a box.

Setting Expectations

BC Public Service employees are expected to act responsibly and perform their assigned duties. They are 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 is 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, visit Identifying Employee Misconduct

When Expectations Are Not Met

When expectations are not met, follow up with your employee. If you are unsure about someone’s behaviour, use the reasonable person test. This tool determines if an action is considered unacceptable.

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, visit Managing Problems With an Employee for the steps you need to follow.  

For advice and support related to employee behaviour and performance, contact AskMyHR. Submit a service request with the category 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

A LoE 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, contact AskMyHR. Submit a service request using the category 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 AskMyHR for the employee personnel file. Submit a service request using the category My Team/Organization > Employee & Labour Relations >  Employee Personnel File.

For more information on employee personnel files, visit Managing Employee Records.