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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Is Your Employment Relationship in Balance? Tipping the Scales in Your Favour

It is astounding how many conversations I have recently engaged in about this very topic with a wide variety of professionals across many industries and organizations: 

First of all, what do I mean by "is your employment relationship in balance"?  Simply said:  are you as an employee deriving as much benefit out of the employment relationship as your organization is deriving from you?

Let's first identify some examples of what you, the employee, may bring to an organization that is viewed by most progressive employers as valuable attributes:
  1. Knowledge - you may have specialized knowledge, skills, experience and/or professional expertise that is required to be effective within your particular role or organization.
  2. Relationships - you may have solid professional relationships which you leverage to the benefit of your role and/or the organization.
  3. Leadership - you may be an extremely effective leader and as a result of your leadership skills, you are able to positively influence up, down, across, inside and outside of your organization to help you achieve business results.
  4. Work Ethic - you may have an admirable work ethic that enables you to drive sustainable business results over a protracted period of time as compared to others.
  5. Positive Attitude/Personality - you may have an infectious "glass half-full" personality that enables you to focus on the positive thereby creating a magnet for others to gravitate toward, even when times are tough.

If you possess any one or a combination of these positive attributes, then you have to ask the question, am I being rewarded appropriately for them?

Some examples of being appropriately rewarded may include one or more of the following: 
  1. Recognition - are you seeing your fair share of job promotions, competitive annual increases, employee awards, letters of commendation and/or enrollment in developmental courses, etc.?
  2. Growth - are you continuing to grow and develop your skills, knowledge, experience and leadership skills on a personal and professional level?
  3. Remuneration - base salary, commissions, bonuses, etc., are they reflective of your worth as a free agent in the open marketplace?
  4. Respect - do you feel your boss, peers and organization truly respect and value you and your contributions to the business?

Baring this in mind, when you weigh what you bring to the table (i.e., "your attributes") versus what you receive in recognition for them from your organization (i.e., "the organizational rewards"), which one of the following three scenarios best describes your current situation:
  1. When the scales are reasonably balanced between your attributes and the organizational rewards, generally speaking, most employees should be content with their employment situation;
  2. If you happen to be one of the lucky ones where the scales tips in your favour, then be thankful for what you have achieved, but don't be surprised if at some point your employer takes steps to even the playing field; or
  3. If the scales tip in favour of the organization, the question then becomes by how much?  As long as there is not a significant disparity, arguably most employees should be content with their employment situation with the caveat that they need to ensure the scales don't continue to tip away from them. If, however, there is significant disparity, one legitimate reason may be that you are new to the position and there is a steep learning curve.  In the short term, this is perfectly acceptable in many circumstances.  On the other hand, if this is not the case, you should give serious thought to addressing the imbalance (please look to future blogs where I will be discussing ways in which you can address this imbalance in a constructive manner).

Both employers and employees alike need to be cognizant of the ever-shifting balance of the employment relationship scales and make a concerted effort to maintain equilibrium where ever possible.

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