What you have to deal with in your job is frequently not the work deal you remember. In fact, what you must manage for most people working in corporations is radically different from the written agreement. “The work deal” is an informal way to refer to the agreement between the company and the employee to execute a work statement. It defines the gives and takes for both parties and must be as clear and detailed as possible.
Companies must make a significant effort to make employees understand what is in it when they hire new employees and every time their status changes. Employees must also make an effort to clarify what is in the agreement document and beyond it and ensure they are up to delivering on the expectations.
Wouldn’t it be great if things were that simple? The more painful stuff to face is precisely the hidden truths between the lines or entirely out of them, which is a decades-long growing frustration from a beaten workforce in the US. New concepts such as “quiet quitting” and “the great resignation” are constructs built upon years of unfavorable work deals. When you must deal with the brutal realities of today’s workplace, the monetary compensation must be high to balance the realities. A tab that no company is willing to pick. Toxic working environments, continuously required longer hours without a clear purpose, unclear performance reviews and career paths, not effective development plans, low benefits, stagnated salaries, and rigid schedules are not rare manifestations of those realities. Therefore, I expected the table to turn when the employees’ situation became more favorable on the timeless capital-labor pendulum. And it did.
It is not easy for any company to flip its policies overnight and regain employee loyalty and higher levels of engagement. There are no silver bullets, either. The process is delicate and requires good tools and planning. Your People Organization can lead it, but the most impactful is to flip the leaders’ mindset and, therefore, their direct impact on everyone else in the company. So start with the CEO and the executive team – leading by example and walking the talk are very important. Most employees are loyal to their leaders first and then to the company. And for similar reasons, people leave companies primarily because of bad leaders. Thus, why not start investing in your leaders first?
There are a lot of new requirements leaders need to master these days to be effective. Many companies accepted hybrid schedules mixing in the different options for remote working. Consultants and contractors are a big reality in most teams, and communicating becomes challenging as people do not have the same lexicon to start. They also need to understand how to cope with people that (finally!) feel more comfortable asking for personal time off to deal with mental health problems, family issues, and sometimes better harmony in life. With all that and more in the making, Leaders need support to learn and develop new skills. And they also need someone to call and ask for a second opinion on dealing with specific and unique situations. I say companies are not providing the best tools for leaders or being realistic when setting expectations. And that has been stressful for many leaders to manage. So what companies and leaders can do about it?
First, all leaders should have access to great mentors. Great mentors are Certified Mentors. To start, companies should revamp their Internal Mentoring Programs (IMP) to include internal and external mentors giving Executives a broader knowledge base to consult. Then, they should offer every executive a chance to get certified in mentoring, so they are prepared to assume that role when talking to their team members. A profound transformation starts and impacts the entire organization by planning and executing an effective IMP programmatically. The significant advantage of Mentors over Coaches is that executives now have advice from people with relevant and relatable experiences in their area of business. They naturally understand what their mentees are going through, the business impact of a recommendation, and the ability to provide expertise and knowledge in soft and hard skills. No doubt, companies will have more engaged employees. And also, more developed and educated leaders and employees in their fields. An effective way to provide Learning and Development (L&D) customized by each employee, and precisely at the moment they need them, driving more extensive retention. A win-win-win program with real potential to save money on raises and bonuses to retain talent. Companies with effective L&D and leaders who genuinely care about their team members have higher retention rates. Employees who recognize they are being cared for by their managers are more loyal and engaged. And leaders are less stressed about giving real-time feedback and helping employees develop and thrive, regardless of their differences—all with a few tweaks to your IMP.
If you are not convinced, allow me to appeal to your good senses. Revamping your IMP does not require much work and investment. But all the alternatives do. The answer to offering a better work deal to employees is providing your organization with a robust L&D plan based on certified mentors. That is the true game-changer in today’s workplace.
Collective Brains Founder