A common belief is: Many employees don’t want to make all the efforts they are required to make
The point is not so much whether the belief is true, but whether the belief is self-fulfilling, meaning employees try to avoid too much work and efforts because they realize they are not being trusted. When you are not trusted then the objective of feeling good with what you have done evaporates into thin air.
Suppose management succeeds in creating a culture of trust. Would the employees be willing to be loyal to the organization they work for? By ‘being loyal’ I mean do whatever it takes to achieve more of the organizational goal.
Employees come to work because they need the money. This starting point has several ramifications.
- If the employees think they are getting less than what they deserve – then they become frustrated and hostile towards the organization, which is the opposite of loyalty.
- As the money is important the employees choose to stay in the organization until something better pops up. This forces them to try hard to be considered “good”, or at the very least “OK”.
Other ramifications are caused by the mere fact that the employees spend large part of their life in their work place:
- Most employees prefer to “do something” while they are at the work place, and so they usually work willingly according to what is expected from them, unless they have a reason not to.
- Employees that have the passion to excel look for an appropriate chance.
An important observation:
It is easier for an employee to be loyal to the organization than to the organization to be loyal to the employee.
The organization always looks at the cost and compares it to the perceived value from the employee. However, as we have seen, that value is not easy to assess. It is even more difficult to assess the indirect damage of being disloyal to the employee, as many of the employees become disillusioned and even hostile in a hidden way.
From the above it seems that even when the management trust their employees and is loyal to them there is no guaranty that all the employees would be loyal to the organization. It is enough that a specific employee believes he is underpaid to cause him to betray that trust. And if this is the case then the organization should actively look for signals of low-motivation and disloyalty from the employees.
However, the need for making sure all employees are loyal does not necessarily mean the solution has to be the use of personal performance measurements.
What are the true needs of organizations in assessing their employees?
I can see two such needs:
- Identify employees that generate damage. Some might simply lack the appropriate capabilities. Others might be ‘rotten apples’ – those who are disloyal. Such people might influence others to become disloyal.
- Identify potential ‘stars’ – employees who can bring huge value in the future – if they are nurtured in the right way.
All the rest are good employees who bring value when management makes it possible. Is there a point of measuring performance in a more accurate way?
If the organization would maintain a culture of respect and loyalty then the employees will do their best to organization because this is their work – a substantial part of their life. What the organization has to do is to make sure there is a certain code of work and when there is a signal that the code is broken then, and only then, those employees should be chased out.
In some cases, the organization has no choice but to let people go because they cannot yield value anymore. The point is that when this happen management needs to recognize it as its own failure! Management then has to be aware that they need to re-build the trust and loyalty of the employees who are still in the organization to prevent the next disaster.