Employee Contentment: How Far is Too Far?

In today’s booming economy the job market is good. No, actually, it’s fantastic and employees know it. With this newly found power has come a backlash against the downsizing of the 80s and 90s that many large companies periodically went through. Now, employers are not only trying to attract staff, but also attempting to find new and creative ways of keeping staff. Often, it comes down to money and some small companies simply can’t afford to keep throwing it at employees in an effort to keep them around.

Many articles are written about offering an environment that’s creative, fun and dynamic in the hopes of distracting staff into staying. Allan A. Kennedy, author of The End of Shareholder Value has a different view. He maintains that, "Companies have to take a long-term view about investing in and creating an environment that attracts and keeps employees, but the heart of it comes from the attitude employers have towards employees. That means listening to them, paying attention to their needs, treating them as long-term assets."

Some members of management are also insisting that companies have to approach their positions differently. Before the employee’s market came into being employers focused on the business of running the business. Now, whether they like it or not, that business has changed. If your goal as CEO is to focus on the long-term success of your company, these days taking employee satisfaction into consideration is going to be a part of your job duties. In an economy where jobs are abundant, it’s time to accept that fact and work with it.

Brett Price, CEO of Cheetah Technologies, a systems-integration business in Bradenton, Fla., doesn’t even consider approaching employee situations from the "I wish I could be doing other things" approach. "This is what I do. It's my job to put an organization in place that makes these people want to stay. The only thing I wish would change is the speed. You have to respond faster today. If something is wrong with the organization, and you don't fix it in a matter of months, they'll leave."

Some businesses may be crossing their fingers that this trend of the employee’s market will soon pass. However, employers shouldn’t hold their collective breaths. Demographers have projected that the hiring pool is going to remain tight for the next few decades.


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