A Time of Opportunity to Become a Great Employer

When it comes to employers looking for employees this is an incredible buyers’ market.  Consider: The current Business Week chronicles the woes of young people entering the labor force. Unemployment nationally is nearly 10%.  In cities it’s as high as 30%.  Labor unions have made enormous concessions. White collar workers have given up benefits, had their wages cut, or been downsized altogether, left to compete for scarce jobs.  Okay, okay, enough of the bad news that you already know.

Well, one startling point about the implications.  In an amazing article in The Economist, the impact of this lax labor market is detailed:  “A survey by the Center for Work-Life Policy… found that between June 2007 and December 2008 the proportion of employees who professed loyalty to their employers slumped from 95% to 39%; the number voicing trust in them fell from 79% to 22%.”

When employees feel no loyalty and express no trust, it’s only a matter of time before they leave.  Before they get the chance to leave altogether, it’s absurd to think they’re pouring their hearts and souls into the work.  From this dark tale emerges the light of opportunity:  What an incredible chance for humane and engaging employers to support their employees and thus secure their trust and productivity.

What are the central keys to doing that? They are the two oldest values in the universe:  Truth and love!  Clear truth will build trust even when the truth is tough.  Love and  care for your people by looking for non-economic ways to improve their quality of life.  At work, find ways to encourage, to celebrate, to
empower, and to underline the meaning of the work.  When you can’t reward with money look for the deep intrinsic human needs.  And in this time of great economic stress – when people are asked to do more, and their spouses are working harder too – look for ways to promote quality of life, especially through flexibility for emplolyees and their families.  Maria Shriver launches her report “A Woman’s Nation” this week.  She says that the “war of the sexes is over.” And that both sexes are clamoring for ways to support their families while accomplishing their work. 

It would be a great topic of conversation this week at work:  “What can we do to help you and your family in times when we can’t do much foryou economically?”

Talk truth and offer love to lead with your best self,

Dan