The Psychological Contract?!
Two weeks ago in our first show we took the position that behavior is a 50/50 mix of nature and nurture. We then expanded on it by focusing on what is universal to all people - the need to find purpose, to live on purpose. Last week we took the other side of the 50/50 proposition with a mixture of parenting and crisis events in our early years determining how we seek and define purpose. Since parenting reflects how the preceding generation was parented plus the crisis events happening at the same time, we can look at nurture in terms of generations.
This week we will put some flesh on this by addressing what individuals expect in a work setting; what happens when someone comes to work for you?
The idea of a psychological contract is nothing more than a range of unstated expectations that exists with both parties; the employer and the employee. When unmet it leads to dissatisfaction on both sides and can breed long-term hostility. Today’s show makes the two lists public and addressable.
First, what is a psychological contract?
It is an informal set of expectations held by both the employer and employee to include but not limited to informal agreements, mutual benefits, common ground, and perceptions.
Another way of looking at it is both sides believe the other has ‘obligations’ that are part of their work roles.
From the employee’s perspective, their list of expectations for employers:
From the employer’s perspective, their list of expectations for employees:
The list is a good start but reads more like good feeling generalities without the details. Well we will now take this to the next level by making the general specific into 2 categories - what dissatisfies people, then building on that list what drives satisfaction. We will close with specifics for each generational group discussed in last week's show.
What must you clarify and handle to ensure people are not dissatisfied with working with you?
You noticed that we started with issues that have an inward focus, things that matter to them and their family. It is only the last two items where their concern turns external.. Keep that in mind when dealing with new hires. The relationships will only matter when there is a relationship, until then it is about them.
Now let’s shift to the positives. We must start with the previous list of 8 distracters that make it difficult to focus on the positives. Once ADEQUATELY addressed, moving to the positive expectations will have a real impact.
Where are opportunities to create positive expectations for the work relationship?
This list is more specific, but it doesn’t provide you the detail needed when a new prospect is sitting across the desk from you or in a virtual meeting. We can close that gap with reviewing the previous show on Generations, Each generational set of individuals will have common characteristics that provide the owner with a solid starting location.
Emphasize your optimism about the company's future and their role in it, the level of work challenge now and in the future, and this is the place they can make and leave a mark for as long as they want to work.
Emphasize the quality of leadership, the importance to the company on achieving a work / life balance when taking on work and assigning jobs, how the policies & procedures (employee manual) was kept simple - the few things you can’t do - we are more flexible and informal than it appears, and we are going to rely on your knowledge of tech to make everything work.
Emphasize flexible work conditions - what is your policy on remote work, the importance of work / life balance when taking on work and assigning jobs, celebrations for performance are a big deal here, and we are very collaborative in our approach to running the business.
Emphasize the desire to build a real inclusive work team, the company cares about their well being, we demand ethical leadership - they do what they require, we run an open book business.
Now some of the list issues might have you scratching your head about whether you want to make those statements. You have to figure out how to navigate the list.
Next Show: ATTRACT THE BEST BT APPEALING TO THEIR ASPIRATIONS.
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