What do you owe your employer?

Earlier this week I was at the launch of a new book on the topic of Organisational Effectiveness ( details below). There was a lot to take in on what is a wide ranging topic but one particular area stuck in my mind and that was the concept of “mutuality”.

It is often assumed that employers have all the power but I wonder.

I like the BBC2 programme “The Fixer” where Alex Polizzi goes in to help small family businesses that have run into trouble. In a recent episode the owner of a fancy dress company was working 7 days a week to keep the business going but it was touch and go. Alex asked why the employees did not do weekend shifts so that she could take a break and she said that they would not agree to it.  But when owner asked them if they would on camera they agreed. She did say that she would not ask them to do anything that she would not do herself.  Admittedly it would have been difficult to say no but the employees did say that given the choice of saving the company  ( and their job) they would do it. We could argue that it should not have had to get to that stage but maybe more employers should share the hard facts of business with employees to engender a “we’re all in this together” spirit.

And then I read this blog post by Peter Honey. Now while I find his comments a bit radical I can see where he is coming from.

I regularly speak to people who are not enjoying their work. There are a lot of reasons for this.  In less difficult economic times the obvious suggestion is that they should find something else more fulfilling. That’s maybe harder right now.

But I still find it surprising that people will choose not to have a conversation with their boss about how to improve things so they continue to struggle or choose to perform at below their best.

Of course there are bosses who won’t listen.

But many will.

Maybe we are looking at  the 2012 equivalent to a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay – and vice versa?

People and Organisational Development – A New Agenda for Organisational Effectiveness

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