employee trust, flex scheduling, human resource, job cuts, job retention, Layoffs, mobile workforce, part-time workers, telecommuting, telework, unemployment, value, virtual collaboration, Washington Post, work mobility
The purpose of my blog today is to challenge the credibility of an article that was on the front page of The Washington Post. As a business owner, it infuriated me. The article is yet another example of the media injecting fear and worst-case scenarios into the lives of employees everywhere.
Entitled “As Cuts Loom, Will Working From Home Lead to a Layoff?” is an article that says employees with flexible scheduling and telecommuting options are in jeopardy. Maybe that is the case in some companies. Maybe that is the case in companies that haven’t engrained work-life balance into their culture, and haven’t seen the tremendous rewards that come from creating a work environment that integrates into a person’s life.
Perhaps this scenario is unfolding in organizations that don’t realize the tremendous increase in productivity when a company encourages a mobile workforce, increased virtual collaboration, and employee trust.
Maybe this is what happens when employers says things such as “now is our chance to take back the company,” and comments about the fact that employees shouldn’t feel entitled to ask for flexibility during this time because they should feel lucky to have a job. (This is direct feedback from Teresa Hopke, talent management director for RSM McGladrey.)
What is wrong with these people?? I fully get it that especially today, organizations have to consolidate roles, streamline responsibilities, and cut overhead. And perhaps this will result in combining multiple part-time jobs into one, so part-time workers may be affected.
But this article insinuates that the overall trend of organizations right now is to use fear of job loss to strip benefits that largely define an organization’s culture.
“For their part, many managers are doing little to calm those concerns, human resource consultants say. They tend to view options such as flex time and telecommuting as retention tools, experts say, and in recessions, fear of unemployment is just as effective.”
If this is really what is happening in corporate America, I as a small business owner am very troubled. Fear is never a motivator. Fear may retain people for the short-term, but things WILL turn around, and when they do, the employees that these companies manipulated – the same employees that busted their tails to carry them through the recession – will leave.
This is a time that employees and employers need to come together and watch each other’s backs. Do you know what really motivates an employee and incites loyalty? Feeling valued. Knowing that their hard work to ensure company success is recognized and appreciated. Knowing that every person in the company – from the CEO to the administrative assistants – are out there doing everything they can to propel the company forward. We are all in it together, people.
For those business owners that view these times as an opportunity to rescind benefits just because you can (not just as a matter of necessity), cut people off at the knees, and take a position of intimidation and condescension, I truly hope you get everything you deserve when this economy rebounds. Because when it does, it will be your former employees securing business and meeting customer needs – most likely for your competitors.
This article is NOT an accurate portrayal of the corporate landscape that I know. So please, like the rest of the negative media out there, I suggest putting this portion of The Washington Post to good use – perhaps lining your bathroom floor if you are housebreaking a puppy or lining your cat’s litter box. Because the information in this article will be right at home in those places.
Our guest poster is Marissa Levin, CEO of Information Experts