Today, most employees don’t have a “relationship” with their employer. Paychecks are deposited automatically, we work in communal space if we don’t work from home, we never “move-in,” very few notice if we ever come back, and we communicate through electronic means with our colleagues and customers who can be anywhere in the world.
According to Gallup, 68 percent of U.S. employees, at best, take a “paycheck without passion.” Alarmingly, that’s the lowest percentage of people in the world–Western Europe is closer to 90 percent.
With that high a number of employees who are ambivalent about their job, we shouldn’t be surprised by the fact that total turnover across all U.S. professions was 44.3 percent in 2018. And we definitely shouldn’t be surprised that 26 percent of that turnover is attributable to a lack of positive and productive work relationships, well-being, and work environment.
All this suggests that a transactional employer-employee relationship is the norm. And herein lies both a challenge and an opportunity for employers, as it pays to create a bond of trust with employees: According to Gallup, if an employee reports that a “supervisor/someone at work cares,” that has an impact on retention, customer satisfaction, productivity and profitability.
In baseball, it might even have an impact on your team’s ability to win the World Series. There are all kinds of reasons why an athlete would want to hide an injury in order to be seen as being more “game ready” than they are, but despite all the pressure to “hide the ball,” Max Scherzer owned his injury in Game 5 and told Joe Ross to get ready to be lead-off pitcher in one of the most critical games of the Washington Nationals’ career.
Max Scherzer, knowing the organization, felt safe in his ability to share details regarding his injury and found an alternative that gave his team a better path to winning. All employees should feel this way about their organization, but the reality is that too few do.
This is where continuous evaluation comes into play. Some see it as a repeated pre-hire background check that virtually every employee receives prior to being hired, but really, it’s so much more than that.
We know that the majority of workplace assaults are preceded by verbal assault, intimidation and harassment. We also know that in most cases, these actions are taken by employees who feel significant pressure and stress. In fact, more than one-third of U.S. workers say financial stress impacts their work.
If these early warning indicators are not continuously evaluated and therefore missed or ignored, employees write off company policy as only lip service, and employers see productivity drops and absenteeism and risky behavior escalate. They see employee-employer trust erode as employees see claims of assistance but not action that contributes to a physically and emotionally safe workplace. And, as a worst-case scenario, employers sometimes see employees who feel the employer does not serve their interests take action to convert employer assets or take their frustration out on others.
So, how can employers get away from benign neglect to achieving the very basic of engagement goals of physical and emotional safety? It starts with “why.”
Employees will ask:
- Why are you doing this?
- What do you intend to do with the continuous evaluation data once you get it?
- What’s in it for me?
To which an employer should explain that continuous evaluation will help them:
- Recognize the needs of employees and guide them to assistance programs
- Eliminate bullying and intimidation
- Stop sexual harassment
- Protect employees from outside physical assault before it finds its way inside the workplace
In so doing, employers will actively demonstrate to their employees that they care. And, most importantly, they will create an environment in which more employees can follow in Max Scherzer’s footsteps, feeling comfortable enough to ask for help when they need it the most, and before it has a negative impact on the organization.
The views of the author of this article do not necessarily represent the views of Gradifi. We make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained here. Readers should consult their own attorneys or other tax or financial advisors to understand the tax, financial and legal consequences of any strategies mentioned in this article.