Since the last week of my job backfired a bit I’ve been thinking about the employee / employer relationship. I wanted to have a series of posts talking about my views from the way I see as like an open letter to employers about what it is that makes an employee want to work for and please their employer.
I thought for this first one it’s about the relationship and to see how things have changed a bit let’s turn the clock back to Victorian times. It was in these times that Britain was at it’s peak, technologically, economically and it’s standing int he world seemed un-movable. This Britain was built on what today we see as slave labour, workers had little to no rights. Employers would move clocks back and forward to suit themselves and get more work out of every employee. The price of disobedience or lack of performance was instant dismissal, which would lead to tough times and eventually the workhouse.
Thankfully things have moved on a bit and there are now rights and laws in place that are always being reviewed and argued about and ultimately changed. But the world is learning that employing someone and expecting the same out of each employee isn’t as simple as paying them and expecting them to do great things.
Why is this?
Simple – everyone is different. A family person is likely to not stay as late as a single person. People have lives outside of work, but some don’t and dedicate their lives to their jobs. Comparing any one employee to another as a yardstick is as pointless as comparing a fingerprint. Everyone is aware that as job has to be done and normally every one will do their very best. Because they want to, sure they want to get paid and in nearly every case NEEDS to get paid, but using that to hold power over an employee is bad form.
Pretty much every employee in every company want to be inspired to do the best job they can – they want to be seen to be doing a good job, they want to feel that their efforts and time are pleasing their employer and employee wants to please.
So when you sit in a room with your manager and they rattle on for 20 minutes about the fact that you don’t works as well or as fast as they like is that inspiring – NO! Why these managers don’t take a different angle on it I have no idea. For example I was told that I don’t work fast enough and spent 20 minutes discussing distractions and how I can work faster. When I queried them on the quality of my work the reply was “Er – I think it’s ok”
Great – you’ve just admitted that you don’t give a flying fuck about what I do – as long as it’s quick.
Turning this around it could have gone another way:
“Hey Simon, you’re doing some great work but there’s going to be a lot going on over the next few months and we need your help to get boards out faster – How can I help with this?”
The end result is still the same, I feel better because I’ve been told I do good work and the manager would feel better for having a positive conversation. Why is this so hard? Also, sometimes things take the time they take for a reason, if a manger thinks it can and should be done quicker – maybe they should show the employee how! There’s no better inspiration that a leader that actually leads.
This is the first of several posts on employers… if you like it say so – have any ideas to add, then let me know!