The psychological contract
Do your colleagues feel valued at work? Do they know how their work contributes to the achievement of corporate goals and ambitions? Do you keep them in the loop?
Enlightened employers know that a Contract of Employment is so much more than a physical piece of paper confirming terms and conditions. It’s a psychological contract; one that unconsciously signals the beginning of a host of unwritten expectations between an organisation and an individual.
Psychologically, both sides of that formal agreement have hopes, fears, ambitions and insecurities that never make it onto the pages of that important document.
We help businesses understand the psychological contract as well as the formal written version. It’s called corporate emotional intelligence. “Bah!” “Piffle!” The unenlightened might say. “Pah!” Say we.
The Luddites need leading towards the light. We’re quite good at that.
There is incontrovertible evidence that organisations which understand the psychological contract, as well as meet requirements of the physical one, steal a march on their competitors. Creating a culture of engagement cannot be achieved overnight, but neither does it need to be long-winded, onerous or come with a prohibitive price tag. It simply requires corporate emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence and employee engagement is also a relatively simple and cost-effective way to add value to your corporate reputation.
Employee Engagement (EE) can be as simple as ‘walking the job’ and taking time to find out about colleagues and take an interest in their life outside of the workplace. It can also be about making time to say “Well done!” or “Good job!” It costs nothing, boosts self-esteem and makes colleagues feel valued. And that is good for quality and productivity.
There are many other forms of EE, some of which are inexpensive and others that cost significantly more – ranging from recognising birthdays as an extra day off, right up to the enhanced benefits packages that include healthcare and a final salary pension scheme.
It’s worth investing some thinking time to create schemes, such as an employee of the month award, to recognise a significant colleague contribution or input, and mark it with a special award or treat. A colleague who feels valued is one of the best advocates a business can have and acts as an effective informal voice in his or her community.
In short, a valued and engaged workforce delivers improved business performance. What company would knock that back in the current economic climate?
What do you do to engage and inspire your people?