“Hi honey, it is me. I have to stay in the office because of a management meeting, I will get home late, do not wait on me to eat dinner…I know, I know…I would love to, but remember, I told you yesterday that it seems that we have only reached 94%, and we need to figure out something immediately because HQ…you know…even though we said, you know them…I know it is Valentine’s Day, and I know that it is a cliché, but I wanted to celebrate it with you…I love you…I will hurry.”
Let’s make a bet…
How many times will similar discussions happen in a decision-making manager’s life in 2021? It takes quite some effort to guess. However, one thing is sure: such occasions will happen much less often than they did in pre-virus times. I would put money on it, too. Why am I so confident? The formula is simple. The preference scale of employees has changed significantly, so their motivational ranking has transformed as well. We have heard similar statements before. Nevertheless, we usually state such things about a certain person. In recent decades, it has never really happened that brand new trends appeared so fast and “aggressively”. Not to mention that there are no examples of such trends affecting all the employees. Dear company owners, leaders, business developers, and HR professionals, we should get ready because we will witness this process in 2021. We could say that the decision-makers currently in power are lucky because they could gather experience in 2020 and will experience situations in 2021 that one could never have learned from books or heard in lecture halls. What is more, we could have never read forecasts connected to them. Many people believe in the school of life. Now they really got it from COVID-19. Everyone can practice right now, starting in the deep end. What do we expect from a period that follows the year that brought humanity to its knees? Do we really believe that employees will not change just because they are not top decision-makers? Or do we think that their attitude change will be the same as that of a company owner or a career manager? Employees do not have to acquire further success to be promoted, and they do not have to keep their current leadership positions. They are not driven by raising the revenue or the profit by an extra 5%. We must accept that as employees, our individual interests take on priority status as well. We can be loyal and think about our individual interests at the same time. If we only work for the company and ignore our private lives, we are not loyal but “not so smart” to put it mildly. Moreover, this direction is not appropriate for the company either because such people are helpless, do not develop, so they become increasingly unhappy, and sooner or later the company will no longer be able to “make them useful”.
What do employees want?
Dear leaders, we should stop for a minute in the midst of goal-orientation and think about what employees really want. First, we should consider the common features of them and us. When we work as leaders, but we are employees, we tend to forget that we are “on the same team” with the employees without leadership positions. We are more on their team than we are on the team of company leaders, because unlike company leaders, we do not share in the company’s profits. We can move on and look for another company owner or business where our plans will be realised. They should not think that the colleagues under our supervision do not have the same way of thinking. As company owners, we should not believe that leaders are almost owners. Unless we promoted them to the ownership level, they will think like employees. We should not fall into the trap that just because they have responsibilities does not mean that they are not regular people, who as employees think completely differently than us. We should not forget that it was the reason why we hired them. It is important that not every decision revolves around profit after a while. At least, that is the saying, isn’t it? What do employees want in 2021? More time for a happier private life and less work that “smells like work”. We can say it about employees in general. Will employers like it? Will leaders with a sense of ownership like it? No. Not at all. Will employees care that leaders/owners do not like it? No. Not at all. We should get ready for it that with or without high unemployment rates and millions of redundancies worldwide, drive and approach to work will not develop on their own. That is why significant steps must be taken in 2021 as well.
“Hi, honey. You know what? I don’t care about the management meeting. I am heading home, and we will celebrate Valentine’s Day together.”