Making Employment Agreements Work

The Problem

As workers, we may feel we’re victims of the company.

Every day we trade our life energy to the company in exchange for stuff.  Workers often feel short-changed.  We’re not paid enough.  Our benefits keep shrinking. Training promises aren’t fulfilled.  Opportunities for advancement never materialize.

Worse, we feel we have no say at all in the decisions our employer makes about the stuff they deliver.

As employers, we feel like victims of our employees.  We trade precious, hard-earned resources for life energy from our workers.  We’re not getting a fair share of our workers’ life energy.  They come five minutes late and leave five minutes early.  They’re playing video games and talking on their cell phones.  They aren’t doing their jobs or giving it all they’ve got.  They’re not vested in the company’s success.

Worse, we can’t get them to do anything.  We ask, we order, we train, we write memos.  We don’t have any say at in the decisions they make about the life energy they deliver.

Our Answers

Make agreements transparent

Empower workers and owners to…

  • negotiate the agreement publicly, all the time
  • hold everyone accountable for honoring the agreement
  • manage conversations about work

Change the basic nature of the agreement by

  • Add joy to the exchange
  • Adding exchange elements such as trading waste reduction for employee benefits
  • Forming teams to address processes
  • Engaging in volunteer work together
  • Changing the evaluation method – ie, performance evaluations

Quality guru W. Edwards Deming said 40% of most companies is waste.  Workers represent your biggest expense.  What if 40% of your labor investment is waste?

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