Psychological Recession in the Workplace?

I just read this article in BLR's HRDA . Great story, but I'm curious to know what people think about the idea of the psychological recession!


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  • Employers, in general but not in whole, abandoned the notion of loyalty to their employees back in the '80s.  Employees, subsequently, abandoned the notion of loyalty to employers: average tenure has plummeted.  The government has permitted the wholesale offshoring of jobs in entire industries.  Wallstreet usually responds positively to layoff announcements when a company has reported poor performance on a quarterly basis.

    From the article: “When people are perceived as a cost and not a resource, when they are treated as a liability and not an asset, when no one seems to know or care that they are there, [employees] don’t work well, and they don’t stay,” says Barwick.

    What did people expect?  Anyway -- this is part of HR's challenge.  We are to create the environment (or at least the illusion) that the world isn't like it is or that our company is different.  Some employers care about people and work-life balance and loyalty and put some effort and/or money into communicating that and some won't but expect traditional values from their employees anyway.

  • I agree with the Psychological Recession in the Workplace theory.  I also agree that this is HR's challenge and I think it is a big one.  What one employee expects/wants from a company is different then the next employee.  So our challenge is to find out what matters to each employee and try to give that to them.  I think some companies have the philsophy "I am paying them to do their job.  I don't care what is going on at home. They need to be here everyday, on time, do their job, and then go home.  Oh and when I need them to work til midnight on Friday night on a project, they better not complain."

    That doesn't mean going broke trying to do this, but I really think that is why companies that have a different benefit programs and also different reward/recognition programs do better.  Some employees are working because they need the money, some b/c they need the benefits, some b/c they don't want to sit at home and do nothing, others b/c they love what they do.  Finding out what motivates your employees is the key to a happier workforce.  Yes I know you will never completely satisfy 100% of your workforce, but a company can do their best to try.  

    I work for a company that tries to do this. The owners expect a lot from each employee but when push comes to shove, will do anything for any employee that has been good to them.  My owners/company has been known to give out cash for a job well done, write hand written notes to personally say thank you for doing something, give a loan to someone that had surgery and couldn't afford to pay for the medical deductible at that time, give gift cards to an employee whose car was stolen out of the parking lot with groceries in it (she had bought them during lunch and didn't have the money to go get more because her rent was due) and the list goes on and on.  I think it is these little things and so many more that I don't have time to list that makes our company a great place to work.  I have low turnover in an industry that sees a lot of turnover. 


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