We have all seen and heard about the mass exodus from companies ( I am wondering where all these employees are going , but that’s for another email). Have you given any thought to why your employees don’t want to work for you and would prefer to stay at home? What can you do, can you do anything, or better yet, do you care enough to want to do something about it?
What does care looks like within your organisation? What am I even talking about when it comes to care? Care within your organisation should take the form of empathy, it should look like small acts of kindness and bonding on an interpersonal level. This care is shown when an organisation honours its psychological contract with its people. Your psychological contract is an unwritten set of implicit expectations and obligations that sets the tone of what it means to belong to your organisation. In other words what is your culture saying to your employees.
According to an article by Decisionwise, an organisation’s psychological contract can be broken down into four archetypes:
Work as a Family – In this type, there is a premium on belonging. Employees work together and there is a strong bond between them and the organisation as would happen in a family. They are all devoted to the common cause. Values such as loyalty and sacrifice for the greater good is paramount. The organisation is heavily invested giving its people space where their work-life and personal-life can blend. The employees are fully invested in the mission, values, purpose, and brand of the organisation.. Employees are highly engaged and motivated to help the company achieve it’s mission. This type of archetype requires intentional effort and is more often possible in smaller organisations.
Work as a Transaction – This is an “I need you and you need me” type of relationship. There is no special bonding, work life and personal life are kept separate. The employer needs the employees to achieve its goals and the employee needs the employer to gain the resources to accomplish their personal goals. They exist together once the transaction is fair. The employer is happy when its mission is achieved, and the employee is happy when the pay cheque is deposited. Transaction completed, until the next transaction period.
Work as a Scorecard – This is a situation where both parties are climbing the success ladder. Employers are competing for the best talent, constantly looking for ways to attract and retain the best talent. Employees are free agents. They have a personal brand and move around with the intentions of maximizing both their resume and bank accounts. Both the employer and employee are constantly on the look out for better opportunities – loyalty is thin of both sides. The employee cares very much about what the employer represents because it affects their personal brand. The employer has to incentivize its employees, to fulfill its mission.
Work as a Partnership – In this type, true partnership exist because the trust factor is very high. There is alignment between the parties, and they view each other as partners working to achieve a common set of goals and objectives – each party pull their weight. When working well, the employer achieves its mission, and the employees view their organisation as a place and path towards achieving their personal goals. Both parties have a good sense of what the psychological contract means, and they both strive to honour their side of the bargain.
Breaches in the psychological contract happens when either party defaults on their commitment. When employees default the fallout is not as harsh – they either leave on their own or are asked to leave. When the employer, however, breaches the contract the effects are much more acute, and widespread. Trust is eroded and employees get disengaged.
Leaders must understand that their employees are real people, with real feelings, and real needs. Organisations must build their psychological contract on the firm foundation of fairness, clarity, and empathy. When employees feel valued and cared for, then trust becomes the oil that greases the wheels.