ASQ - Team and Workplace Excellence Forum

Online Edition - July 2000

Issue Highlight - WWW
- Friends of mine showed me a letter recently that I thought you might find interesting. It might be a sign of things to come in this New Economy:

In This Issue...
Is Anyone Out There?
Increasing A Good Idea's Profitability
Internal Audits
Every Summit Beckons A Conqueror
Finding Your Way Home In The Workplace

Peter Block Column
Views for a Change

Heard on the Street
Sites Unseen

Heard on the Street
A compendium of ideas and news affecting our lives from the Wall Street Journal and other Sources

Loyalty Not a Thing of the Past
    Is employee loyalty extinct? No, says the 2000 Randstad North American Employee Review. Employee loyalty is alive and well, but employees today define loyalty as dedication to the success of the task or team at hand. The more traditional definition-a lifelong commitment to one company-has gone by the wayside.

   Seventy percent of workers surveyed by said they were loyal to their employer. Since many were changing jobs or considering changing jobs at the time they took the survey, employees' claims of loyalty and the current turnover rate appear to be at odds. But the survey dug deeper and found that, contrary to employers' perceptions, employees' claims of loyalty are sincere. Today's employees are committed to achieving success for themselves and their organizations, but they also reserve the right to devote their efforts and talents to the best possible work opportunities.

   The Review's survey suggests that employers should focus on an applicant's skills and experience-not on the number of jobs he or she has held.

Everything I Need to Know...
    Remember those lessons our kindergarten teachers used to give us? Lessons about being nice to others, not talking behind others' backs, admitting mistakes and cooperation? Turns out many of today's managers never took those lessons to heart.

   Many managers are making the mistake of revealing their distrust of their employees. This is the surest way to receive reciprocal distrust, according to The Wall Street Journal. And in today's tight labor market, trust can play a huge role in an organization's success or failure. A study by Watson Wyatt Worldwide, Bethesda, Md., found that shareholder returns posted 42 percentage points higher at companies where employees trusted top executives than at companies where distrust was the norm.

   This isn't a new problem. Trust in the workplace has been steadily decreasing since the 1980's advent of massive layoffs and acquisitions. Managers willing to express trust in employees in the simplest ways should find that the payoff is worth the effort.

Taking Care of Caregivers
   In the tightest labor market this country has seen in almost three decades, employers are finding it necessary to find new ways of retaining employees, whether it be through pay increases, better benefits or flex time. But they may want to consider lifting the taboo on discussions about elder care. The evolving workforce is being increasingly shaped by concerns about old age.

   According to The Wall Street Journal, the growing number of job changes can in part be attributed to caregivers who find it necessary to change jobs in order to care for aging relatives. Executives, managers, professionals and all family breadwinners in general are seeking out jobs that make caring for aging parents or other relatives easier.

   Employers who ignore this trend or refuse to discuss it with employees are denying that many workers are experiencing a radical shift in their values. Now, and in the future, elder care will be a top priority for employees, and those who meet an immovable wall in place of rational discussion will find it necessary to move on, taking their valuable skills and experience with them.

Win One for the Gipper
A growing number of corporate managers are procuring the services of executive coaches. They've finally caught on to what actors and artists have known for years: Coaches can help improve your bottom line. Managers are beginning to see the advantages of working with coaches to aid in areas such as productivity, effectiveness, morale and improved relationships.

   Some coaches choose to work with corporate teams and divisions, according to business coach Adam Seaman, but most engage in one-on-one relationships between the coach and the manager or executive. The guidance the coach passes on to executives can then spread throughout the organization.

   On average, the coach/executive relationship lasts eight months. Coaches and their clients meet for about an hour each week, either by phone or in person, the coach serving not only as a sounding board, but an ally and partner.

   Although many partners don't look forward to the end of a business relationship, Seaman approaches the end of the coach/executive relationship with contentment. "It's a sign of success when clients no longer need me," he says.

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