I wonder if anyone noticed on my last post, Why arent you happy at work, and what companies should do to fix it, every point has the word ‘me’ in it. Employees keep saying give me this, give me that, and when they dont get it, they cry foul and label the employer as ‘cheap’ or ‘myopic’ (okay, so no one uses the term myopic in pakistan… but you get the picture right?). Employers, on the other hand, say employees are becoming a pain in the neck rather than an asset and always seem to want more.. never content with what they’re given. Afterall, we give above market salaries or we give xyz benefits or we give an excellent work environment, in short, we give and we give, yet its never enough and the employee still leaves. Varied arguments, yet with a link between them… I’ll present my views on this situation and present a possible solution, both from the perspective of an employer and an employee, go through them and give me yours.
For employers: Unless you can tap into an infinite source of talented labor pool to do your work for you… that’s how its going to be. Its a employee’s market out there. Abundance of projects, abundance of business opportunities, and a scarcity of workers to do it. You only have 24 hours in a day, and unless you are out there selling your products or creating new markets to exploit, you cannot thrive, grow and achieve those dreams of making a billion rupees in revenues, thus you need them. You cannot do it all alone.
So what is it that you can do? Simple, you give each employee what they want. No, i’m not saying you give them 6 figure salaries and a company car with paid foreign holidays (anyone remember that joke?).. i’m saying give them what they wanted in terms of value they derive from the job, at least addressing one of the points mentioned in the last post. However, this is not easy because managing all those expectations is a task in itself. The solution? Get people who share ‘common motivation requirements’ like yourself. No amount of talent is an excuse to bring on someone who will not fit in your company culture and share your common values. Remember: you can teach someone how to code, or how to sell, but you cannot teach someone the value of truth if they’ve lied all their life.
Let me share a very recent example. This one company I know of recently wanted to hire some business development professionals. After setting various criteria, putting the word out and interviewing various potential candidates, the decision came down to one guy. However, there was a problem. To this guy, getting the sale was all that mattered, and he was good at it! He came with a highly touted track record second to none. In addition, he was qualified to the hilt! The only problem was, this guy was so focused on getting the sale, he didn’t think twice about employing any method to get it including giving cutbacks. This was against the motivation requirement of the company, where a majority of the employees (including the CEO) believed fostering an honest work environment where people would actually want to come in for in the morning as well as rewarding people on their honest work, rather than on results alone. After a month of serious deliberation, they decided not to bring the new hire on board, instead go in a different direction.
Now for the employees: Congratulations! you rule! Woo hoo!! … now put away the party paraphernalia and wake up to reality. Every company, every corporation out there works on one basic principle. To make money for people who create it and run it (founders, board of directors, shareholders) and that too lots of it. Corporations don’t go green because they feel good about it, they don’t create expansive benefit programs because they value an employee’s personal well being. No! they do it because it impacts the bottom line!
I hope till now, you’ve sufficiently been taken out of your state of euphoria and are nursing the bruise which came from crashing back to earth. In order to be valued, to be given the respect you deserve, the promotions, the glory and the 1600cc company car… you need to impact the bottom line! If you are helping the company make money, either by your engineering efforts (for all us techies out there), through your ideas (for the creative teams) or by helping someone else do important work while you take care of the grudge work (for the clerical types), you are valuable to the company and it will reward you. If you aren’t doing any of the above, then you deserve to be fired. Note: If your manager doesn’t fall in the above category, then they deserve to be fired.. and if they aren’t, please get out as fast as you can to keep your sanity! No job is worth that!
So what do you do? Again, the answer is deceptively simple! Every recruitment blog you read, every specialist you talk to will tell you one thing. The interview is going to be the most important part of the whole hiring process. Having a good resume, passing the tests, etc. are just to put your foot in the door, their final decision and consequently your final decision, will be based on the interview (see above example). Find out if the company can offer what you are looking for in a career. Unless you want to rack up 10 companies in 24 months on your resume, you should seriously be asking them if they offer the three things you need to be motivated. Yes, find out those three things which motivate you (read the last post!) and ask your potential employers whether they offer them. And dont go for the standard ‘we like to keep our people happy and motivated’ talk, be specific! You want a reason to get up in the morning? ask them what kind of projects they’re working on, which project will you be deputed on, who will you be working under, who are the clients and then see if that excites you. In a recent discussion with a friend online, she told me her job, while supposedly glamorous, had more off days than on! The upside was, she got to work with some of the most coolest international brands in the world such as Pixar, Disney and the likes. That’s her motivation to get up in the morning and she’s still happy working there, what is yours?
In short, the sooner you find out what excites you and you find a employer who can offer that more often than not, you know you’ve landed your dream job, and things will fall into place themselves. Afterall, its your market! you have the upper hand.. right?