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Employee Satisfaction or Serfdom?

Employee Satisfaction or Serfdom?

by Frank Roche on June 29, 2007

in Management, Motivation

In HR, there’s lots of talk about employee engagement. Those discussions revolve around creating high involvement workplaces. But what does your work environment indicate about your possibilities of success to create the ideal place to work?

In Why to Not Not Start a Startup, writer Paul Graham writes about the creative urge and the unfortunate reality facing too many employees:

Now we look back on medieval peasants and wonder how they stood it. How grim it must have been to till the same fields your whole life with no hope of anything better, under the thumb of lords and priests you had to give all your surplus to and acknowledge as your masters.

I wouldn’t be surprised if one day people look back on what we consider a normal job in the same way. How grim it would be to commute every day to a cubicle in some soulless office complex, and be told what to do by someone you had to acknowledge as a boss—someone who could call you into their office and say “take a seat,” and you’d sit! Imagine having to ask permission to release software to users. Imagine being sad on Sunday afternoons because the weekend was almost over, and tomorrow you’d have to get up and go to work. How did they stand it?

Here’s an idea: If your employees use words like “boss” and will sit when their “boss” tells them to sit, then you have no chance to have meaningful employee engagement. None. Get rid of that word. I’m not talking about euphemisms like calling “bosses” things like “coaches” or “mentors.” We work with adults. Let’s treat them like adults. Yeah, let’s start with that.

[Via RecruitingBloggers.com]

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