ASQ - Team and Workplace Excellence Forum

Issue Highlight — A Sign Of Hope
- Peter Block addresses the importance for corporations to work in the public interest as well as the interest of shareholders, building strong communities and promoting social equity.


Online Edition - November/December 2000

 In This Issue...
Tackling Leadership
Generation X And The Baby Boomers At Work
Heeding The Call
A Sticky Situation: Creating Innovative Climates

Motivation Made Easy

Peter Block Column
Views for a Change
Heard on the Street

Return to NFC Index

   Heard on the Street        For Those Who Don't Have Time To Read

Time is Money

 Do you ever feel like interviewing for a job can turn into a waste of time? According to a Wall Street Journal article, many people do. The solution: Charge prospective employers for your time.

 This may sound too good to be true, but a new Web site started by Imaxo Inc. is taking a new approach to interviewing. Now, established professionals looking for a job change can submit a resume to Imaxo's Web site. Along with their qualifications, these job seekers include a price indicating how much they expect to be paid for granting a company an interview.

  This option may not provide the same results for everyone. More qualified employees will most likely reap the greatest rewards. Asking prices can vary anywhere from $25 (the minimum a company can pay) to $1,000 for the most qualified candidates.
Other Web sites with similar tactics include,, and, which provide a channel for employers to pay fees for referrals of friends and family.

Getting the Cyber Boot

  With more and more Internet companies running into financial trouble, laid-off workers are in an uproar over the manner in which they are shown the door. In many cases, workers receive no severance, or even worse, little or no notice from employers.

  According to The Wall Street Journal, since the year 2000 began, dozens of dot-coms have gone under, leaving thousands of people without jobs. Others have downsized, with the same results. While some companies treat departing employees fairly-supplying severance and outplacement assistance-other smaller Internet businesses may not have the necessary human resources policies in place.

 Some workers express anger over their disillusionment with the feel-good new economy, where workers are "treated more equitably." Others chalk it up to a learning experience, taking the attitude that nothing in the industry is as solid as it looks. Either way, it looks as if the honeymoon between Internet companies and employees may be over.

Long Road to Retirement

  News about how well the economy is doing is starting to get old. As we reap the benefits of these prosperous financial times, what are we doing to prepare ourselves for the uncertain future? A recent Workforce article discovered that the average 40-year-old has saved only $46,000 toward retirement-that's an average of $2,300 a year if he/she has been working for 20 years.

  At that rate, the average American is not going to have enough money at the age of 65 to retire. What about the possible disappearance of Social Security? What would this do to career progression if a senior decides (or needs) to stay with a company beyond the age of 65? The organization would probably lose one promising individual, or even more if word got out that there was no room for promotion.

  Brent M. Longnecker, executive vice president of Resources Connection, feels financial planning for the entire workforce could help matters. Keeping employees on top of financial changes and policies will improve the overall work experience and culture. An educated employee is more productive, easily retainable and has a greater trust in the company.

  Longnecker believes companies are a lot like politicians: "They can get a lot of public relations to make them look good. But really caring about the future of their people-and not saddling someone else (or this country) with unmanageable liabilities-is the mark of someone (or some company) having substance over style. That is the mark of true leadership."

Organizational Ethics

 We would all like to believe that every time we make a decision it is completely ethical, but we know that isn't always the case. It seems as though we feel the same toward our organizations. The National Business Ethics Survey, conducted by the Ethics Resource Center, found that 90 percent of American workers expect their company to "do what's right, not just what's profitable."

  This sounds good, but when the study team observed workplace misconduct, they found that 26 percent of workers lied, 25 percent withheld needed information, 24 percent had abusive or intimidating behavior, 21 percent misreported hours worked and 17 percent had discriminatory actions.

  Ethical conflicts can be detected by three simple tests. The "Butterfly Test" is the internal feeling of butterflies in your stomach, causing nervousness and discomfort. Gut reactions are often early warning signals of an ethical dilemma.

  The "Authority Test" is performed by asking yourself, "What would your mother say if she were looking over your shoulder?" or "How would you advise your own child in this situation?"

  Finally, the "Public Scrutiny Test" asks if you are willing to have your unethical decision published for everyone to see.

  So the next time you feel pressured to compromise, take these tests and remember that even the most ethical people are prone to making the wrong decision at one time or another.

November-December 2000 Homepage

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