Losing ‘nice work’ is making employees less productive

I joined an international panel of the World Talent Economy forum earlier this week to discuss the topic Good work and economic growth. Good work is an underused concept these days; it’s an old concept that focuses on the holistic nature of employees.

From Wikipedia: According to International Labor Organization (ILO), “Decent work is associated with the opportunity to work productively and with equal income, security in the workplace and social protection for the family, better prospects for personal development individuality and social inclusion, freedom for everyone to express their concerns, organize and participate in decisions that affect their lives, and equality of opportunity and treatment for all women and men. ”

The idea of ​​decent work was a popular concept when I first started working in tech, but after the 1980s the concept disappeared – a loss that not only contributed to resignation as large as it is today, but also have a negative impact on productivity.

Let me explain why it matters.

What the workers used to receive

Good work isn’t about matching skills, self-improvement, or even a specific job. Instead, it focuses on fairness, security and social protection of workers. When I first entered the technology industry to work for an IBM subsidiary, IBM went to great lengths to ensure that I was treated like an employee. For example, I was underpaid for my level, so for a while the company made sure I got the best pay rise (percentage wise) of anyone. in my department. (This policy was not tied to my gender, even though the company was predominantly male at the time; I know this because the women I worked with at the same level were also paid much more than their original salary. My head).

Once committed to decent work, companies offer employee rewards such as benefits or even free food at work; subsidized services such as childcare; laundry; help with financial planning; and the positive benefits associated with resettlement. Plus, you’re provided with a mentor, a pension to ensure you’ll be covered in retirement – and the company paying for the healthcare. These benefits are offset by lower comparable wages, but that delta is much less than the cost of what IBM paid.

We even have a fully equipped on-site gym, a swimming pool and a variety of courts for everything from tennis to volleyball. There’s also IBM University, and access to undergraduate programs from top schools like Pace University (where I got my CMA certification).

The benefit of the company is that I can focus on my current job and not be distracted by the things we’re all worrying about when trying to manage our increasingly complex jobs, finances, and eventually retirement. .

IBM also enjoys high employee loyalty. The only company that succeeded in recruiting IBM employees was BMC. It accomplished that by offering matching benefits and wages while providing a lower-cost, attractive area with great schools for the kids. BMC enhances benefits and reduces costs for employees – but not raises wages. And an employee has much less to worry about.

How is the worker’s ticket price today?

Since then, the company has not stopped focus more on reducing their costs. Pensions are no longer available in most segments, the usual amenities such as gyms are uncommon and Health insurance cost-sharing employees are on the rise. Childcare is out of the question, and even subsidized or free food is the exception to the company rather than the rule.

These things used to be the glue that held employees together with their company. Without it, the staff suddenly realized that the grass might actually be greener elsewhere. So we are in the midst of the Great Resignation.

We know that productivity has increased during the pandemic, but the cost is work/life balance. That loss often causes workers to look to other companies or retire entirely to take care of personal needs. (Many of those needs were covered by employee benefits in the good days.)

Since then, we’ve improved diversity numbers, but by continuing to lower wages for women, we’ve seen another problem arise: wage inequality. That becomes another reason why a segment of the workforce is focused on finding new workplaces to eliminate wage inequality.

Keep employees loyal and focused

It would be a mistake to leave the concept of decent work in favor of over-focusing on pay and limiting costs. It would be foolish to define preventive maintenance on machines, ignoring the need to reduce employee distraction (and make retirement desirable) that not only undermines productivity, but also leading to things like The Great Resignation.

Time to visit again employee compensation and benefits with a focus on ensuring employees get good jobs and thus not only have a better work/life balance, but also have a deeper connection to the company and long-term strategic needs of the company.

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc. Losing ‘nice work’ is making employees less productive

Fry Electronics Team

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