Recently while on a business trip, I had lunch with an executive and we discussed his company’s view of employee engagement and employee ‘perks’. He works for a very large retail corporation – did I say very large? Because I mean very large… Anyway, as we discussed me helping them and provide training for the organization, this executive provided a little insight to their upper management, just below C-Level.
The insight he provided me was this: During a recent meeting to discuss the handling of dismantling of a department it became clear that 10 jobs were needed to be eliminated. One of the just below C-Level executives actually suggested in the meeting that instead of laying off the 10 people from the department, why don’t they go down to the gymnasium and hand out 10 pink slips to anyone walking in.
Of course, the gymnasium was one of many ‘perks’ provided to employees today at corporations who understand the benefit of providing a place where employees want to work. But this specific executive, like many others out there, are really p.o.’d that the employee of today is being treated so much better than they were treated when they were coming up.
The trouble is, employees in an organization are very similar to the kids of a family or a good looking man or woman being used as a trophy date; they know when there is no substance behind the ‘gestures’ and that the employer really doesn’t care about the employee, that they only care how it might ‘look’ to recruits, investors, stockholders and the CEO. But you know what? Employees who realize they are merely being placated by the ‘perks’ will choose to work there over other employers but without the substance, they will not work any harder, often even being less productive.
The SUCCESSFUL organizations that will persevere and sail through the next 20 years of this economy WILL be the organizations that realize that the Employee of Yesteryear is no longer available and is NOT coming back. They will also realize that Employee Empowerment is not a ‘buzz word’ but a concept. They will realize that Employee Engagement is not a program but the result of culture within the organization. AND that the proper engagement and activation of an employee will reap benefits far beyond what these executives can imagine.
You either mean it or you don’t; make sure you notice the companies who really mean it.