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by Erik Sorenson | May 27, 2009


TheAmerican workplace, which has always been Darwinian, is becoming more so as we continue to learn moreabout our new, present, future. Accountability is increasing, which affects managers and executives inthree profound ways:

·      Answering to our employees

·      Answering to our bosses & boards

·      Answering to ourselves

Today,I’ll tackle accountability to employees - the first profound change in being anexecutive or manager in the wake of The Great Recession.   Survey after survey indicatesthat workers go wanting when it comes to leadership, transparency and careerdevelopment.  It’s been a fact forsome time now that the majority of our employees are less concerned about salaryand benefits than they are about the quality of their work experience – andnothing affects that experience more than The Boss.

Withthe influx of Generation Y employees and the pending retirements of manyBoomers, this employee engagement issues will only grow in importance.  And with compensation and benefitsunder attack, workers will tend to focus more on their “professional happiness”as the difference-maker.  In otherwords, “If my career is on track and I believe in my company, and my boss providesleadership, and my job is engaging, then I will put up with lower pay andbenefits, but if I don’t have the right kind of engagement at work, I am out of here!”

Compoundingthe issue:  bosses have never beenmore dependent on employees.  Weare in the “talent era” where human capital, not machines, make the differencebetween winning companies and losers. And this isn’t only true in the private sector.  A new survey from the Partnership forPublic Service – which ranks the top Federal employers by agency – showsthat employee engagement in the federal government trails the private sectorsignificantly.  As with the privatesector, the recent survey of more than 200,000 federal workers shows they valuestrong leadership and straight answers from bosses more than pay andbenefits. 

Dueto supply and demand issues, some bosses in both sectors (private and public)will be tempted to take employees for granted and deny this accountabilityissue.  “There are so many peopleout of work right now that if you don’t like it here I’ll just get someoneelse,” goes the logic.  That’s fineon the surface but doesn’t account for the cost of churn, nor does it accountfor the fact that superior employees will have choices, even in a double-digitunemployment world.   Tomorrow, the second new accountabilityhurdle.



Filed Under: Workplace Issues

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