Monday, March 21, 2011

The 5-Year Employment Contract

I remember when I bought my first car, a beat-up old Ford Mustang I bought for $700 while a senior in high school.
While it might have been laughable to the neighbors, to me it was a Cadillac. I would wash it every Saturday. When I went on errands, I'd park it way far in the back of the parking lot (didn't want to get the dings).
That lasted for about 6 months. A year later I parked in the closest spot in the mall, and I wondered how I could afford to buy a nicer car.
That, my friends, is human nature.
If you own a business you recognize this behavior. When we hire employees they come to us engaged, enthusiastic and fired up. That attitude changes over time. As the years mount, some employees find themselves going through the motions, even bored. The enthusiasm they once had for the job is a distant memory.
Owners are constantly trying to find ways to keep employees engaged, including things like open-book management, cool office environments, etc. to keep employees motivated.
Here's an idea: Why don't we put the responsibility on the employee.
What would happen if most jobs in America became 3-5 year engagements, only. Now, the average tenure for most employees falls into this timeframe anyway, but what if it became mandatory for all.
-Employees would be in a much better position. They wouldn't get bored with the details of their jobs as quickly, they would learn to become better networkers (will need another job soon), they will be forced to learn new skills and meet new people every 3-5 years (thus building their skill sets and marketability), and they will become more engaged at work.
-Employers would be forced to build systems into their companies (thus building the value) and they will be greeted with fully engaged employees.
I realize this is a far-fetched example. Maybe the real solution is force this policy on the employees that aren't bringing value to your operation.
--Ron Ameln, SBM


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