The fault of taking by default: top 4 bad habits of employers


During employer branding projects or corporate reputation consultancy endeavours, I came across lots of behaviours of owners or managers towards the human “resource”. The very resourcefulness of this force is sometimes badly understood so conflicts burst like out of the blue because no one seems to pay attention to a few signs. The bad habits I chose to write about today are those that come down to a single fault: the fault of taking by default. People motivation, expertise, effort, caring, teamwork are usually considered as self-understood and self-nurturing.

Here are my top 4 advice of employers to avoid situations that lead to painful divorce.

  1. Do not overwork overachievers, although it is tempting, I know.

High fliers and overachievers are usually those who end up working to burnout. This category of living creatures has an innate desire towards work anyway and the thin line between job time and overtime is easily crossed. So, if they work anyway let them work, they like it! This is bad. Extended and – passionately otherwise – strenuous overwork with no horizon and projected limit of time produces breakdown. Heavy load periods of time should be marked as such and acknowledged as limited.

  1. Do not elegantly ignore good performance, as self understood. Act now, not tomorrow.

With people nothing is by default, especially effort and expertise. In the transactional relation that happens in a job clear messages should be unearthed. The lack of a corporate ability to actually spot, nurture and recognize good performance is due to existing systems stuck and unable to remember the …curious cases of individual people. Performance appraisal is possible when there is a thinking system for it but also when people are held above the very system! Exceptions make the rule. People are live, they are here and now and motivation is what can make or break a business. Today, not tomorrow. An annual people review is as useful as an annual weather forecast.

  1. If you make unfortunate internal promotions, they are worse than the worst of new hires.

People accept that each new hire is wrapped in a certain dose of luck and are willing to resent less an unfortunate match coming from the outside. But when the wrong person is promoted internally, this is the worst that can happen. It creates waves of lack of trust and direction and even a sense of lack of common benchmarks with the employer. An internal promotion is a strategic move that needs a lot of preparation and pulse taking. Worse promotions happen when toxic people get more power that they already have. Total dismay!

  1. Don’t fail to challenge intellectually and emotionally people. Constantly.

People can sit on an unsatisfying salary for months if they have nice toys to play with daily. The intellectually-satisfying-and-growth-perspective-giving job is what keeps motivation high. Job fit is crucial. HR needs also a repositioning from “a hire and fire” department to an “employee experience” facilitator. And experience does not mean to strive to create stellar work environments, but the “decency of the fit”: the right position for the right person. But for this to happen a little effort to really know that person is needed.

Simply put, I believe people have several contradictory needs to be happy at their workplace:

  • Freedom and guidance in the right proportion,

  • The feeling of belonging to the team and in the same time the conscience of their unique contribution – praised, if possible

  • A sane alternation of work ebullition and hygienic break.

That’s all there seems to be, basically.

Mihaela Rădulescu

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