Monday, August 23, 2010
The Potential Problem
According to the Hay Group, as quoted by the Economist, 57% of employees feel treated like "dispensable commodities".
I'm surprised the number's that low, actually.
Let's face it. The stuff we work on just isn't fulfilling. 100,000 person organizations strive and struggle to make...slightly better razors. To make matter worse, the work we do is still tightly controlled, scripted down to the last line, stopwatched to the nanosecond.
So we've got a situation not so different from thie assembly line, in managerial terms.
We've spent decades trying to figure out how to make employees "feel" valued. But we can't seem to do it. Why not? Perhaps we have to work on stuff of authentic, enduring, and meaningful value first. We've got to, in short, rediscover the little thing called ambition.
Unless we do, this - people feeling devalued, failing to give their best and accomplish their most, trapping firms to underperformance, and economies to stagnation - probably is the equilibrium.
Well, they do call it "Human Resources" which makes it clear they are going to be using us.
I think the problem is that too much emphasis is put on metrics and numbers. The more numbers you have, the more confident are most managers that their judgement / evaluation is correct. It also allows them easily to show their bosses what a good job they are doing.
I like the idea that Netflix for example has done, they have done away with "hours" and they have done away even with "Vacation". You can get off the job as long as you like as long as you deliver your projects on time.
It would also help if companies would stop hiring and firing people based on what their shareprice is doing. It has become way too common for people to lay off vast amount of workers when the shareprice takes a beating, only to re-hire the same amount of people at a later time.