Liz RyanLIZ RYAN runs a consultancy named Human Workplace.  They have a whole bunch of fresh and powerful thinking about seeking employment in the job market.

One of her primary messages is around self-respect and empowerment on the job seeker’s part, so I really love her thoughtful blog posts.  And her illustrations too!

She really understands the mindset of Millennials and other fresh thinkers.

I’m sad, though, to observe far fewer employers who understand that there’s a new and far healthier paradigm emerging.  Like it or not, the employment relationship is changing.

I think of it this way:  Outside the job market, people get involved in lots of things.  They’re engaged in charitable organizations, social groups, sports, and so on.

They’re not paid to do this.  In fact, they’re often investing their hard-earned money and time to be involved.

Many of these groups have high energy, powerful purpose, and are out there changing the world for the better.  They attract members through the power of vision and engagement.

In the workplace, we tend to have a much different view.  Sometimes I characterize this as:  “I’ll pay you to work for me.  In return, I get to tell you what to do and how to behave for 40 hours a week.  If you don’t like that, leave.”

A rather cynical view, yes?  We wouldn’t ever tolerate this in organizations where we don’t have the power of money and coercion to “keep people in line.”

Yet we assume this is the way it should be.

I’ve had the opportunity to work with companies who get the idea that employers and employees can have great relationships at the human level.  This often happens when a couple of people decide to work together in partnership:  “We’ll treat each other as adults, and when conflicts some up we’ll address them openly and honestly.”

FactoryThen, when you bring in an employee who’s has a non-equal role, you fall back into the mindset of trading work for money.  Engagement and respect don’t play much of a role.

Then you run across that bad apple who takes advantage of what generosity and flexibility you gave them.  BOOM – you fire them, and decide that forevermore you’ll be suspicious, guarded, and even dictatorial.

You are going to DRIVE AWAY EMPLOYEES if you maintain this approach.  You may well ruin your company.

It’s time to build a company culture based on treating people as capable and intelligent.  It’s not a perfect system, but what you’ll get in return is an amazing amount of energy, creativity, and engagement.  Employees will be loyal to the extent that you show them their work makes a difference, reward them fairly, and give them some control over their own happiness.

No, it’s not perfect.  But neither was the old system, so I’m not sad to see that die off.


I help people take their companies from the old model to the new model.  If you want to create an amazing and attractive organization, let’s talk!  carl.dierschow@smallfish.us.

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