Feel-good management has received a lot of media attention lately. Some companies are cultivating something different. The labor market situation is an indication that something needs to change: high fluctuation of employees, burnout and mental resignation are just a couple of keywords to give an idea of the extent to which resources, humanpower and capital, are being wasted.
Theory & Reality
Taking a closer look at the functioning of the labor market and its players, the problem becomes quite clear. In theory, the labor market works just like every other commodity market: the labor force is supplying their labor and the companies demand it for a certain price. Labor is then taken as given factor of production that will be used to maximize profit. So the theory goes.
Reality provides a different picture. There is of course the moment when the company and the employee agreed to work with each other under certain conditions but, in the end, we’re all just humans and humans don’t work according to labor market theory. When humans meet – and that is what happens when a company and an employee start working with each other – they start a relationship.
< h3 >Basic Human Values Every relationship we enter throughout life should enrich us and we should feel good about it. Best conditions are created if it is based on trust, appreciation, respect and fairness. In labor relations, these basic human values are missing quite often.
There are many companies where you will find practices for control, disrespectful behavior, lack of appreciation and unfair behavior to secure one’s own advantages. Obviously that behavior is incompatible with an enriching relationship with happy people feeling good about themselves.
Employee & Business Perspectives
Stepping into the business perspective, there is an urgent need to change behavior towards employees: employees are the most precious resources a company will ever have. Companies should treat them accordingly. Instead, they are leaving this resource unused, with significant percentages of unhappy people in their company. It takes a toll of people’s psyches, their work, and the bottom line. Companies should make sure to hire people that fit their culture, they should be clear in communicating not only their expectations, but also what they are able to offer to the employee — they need to be able to meet the employee’s expectations as well. Behavior and attitude should be reviewed on a regular basis — just like it is already happening with performance – to establish a natural feedback culture.
Taking the employee’s perspective clearly shows that we need to start taking responsibility for the life and the situation that we’re in. We need to start questioning if the situation we’re in is the one we want, instead of taking things as they are and being happy or unhappy with an average outcome.
Average? Not Worth It
Every day gives us the opportunity to choose the life that we’re living. Every day gives me the opportunity to change my life: I can quit my job, I can leave my apartment, I can break up with my boyfriend and start traveling around the world. That are a lot of opportunities, and you need to know what you want. I don’t want to stay with mediocrity: if I have a bad or average job, I will try to change things to make it the perfect job. If this is not working, I will quit it to find a job that is perfect. It’s my decision and I can take action, I don’t need to wait for anyone doing it for me. Don’t accept average, it’s not worth it!