Friday, April 17, 2009

Do You Have a Good Job?

I based the following questionnaire on Maslow's "Hierarchy of Human Needs." I think these are all-important questions that the employee needs to ask themselves, and management needs to concern themselves with how their employees would answer these questions.

First need: The Basics.
Is your paycheck enough to get by on?

Second need: Security.
Is your paycheck enough to be able to save for a rainy day- such as an unexpected car repair, hospital bill, or major appliance replacement? Do you have the insurance you need? Do you worry about your job security?

Third need: Work/Life Balance.
Does your company provide a fair amount of paid time off, and are their policies flexible enough to allow you to take off when you need to handle the occasional family situation, or just need to unwind and recharge? Can you leave work at work? Does your stress level at work affect your life?

Fourth need: Respect
Does your company conduct performance reviews at least yearly? Are the results of these reviews used to determine merit pay increases? Do you recieve profitable, constructive feedback?

Fifth need: Advancement and Achievement
Do you feel like you have a chance to take on new projects, move into a different role, or get promoted?

My current company rates 2 out of 5: The Basics and Work/Life Balance. How does yours fare?

I once worked for a company that had all the above except for #5. I should've never left that company.
My mom works for GEICO as a customer service rep. She has spoken to me much about it- she works in a high-stress call center with a draconian attendance policy (-1 on Work/Life); harsh, unconstructive feedback (-.5 on Respect) that constantly threatens to push her into a PIP which could result in termination (-.5 on Security); and little chance for advancement. (-1 on Advancement and Achievement) resulting in a score of 2 out of 5.

From an HR/Company perspective, the import of these considerations paints a picture that looks like this:
1. Generous pay (above and beyond what's "competitive")
2. Full benefits with reasonable deductables and employee contributions
3. Accrued PTO program and a flexible attendance policy
4. Yearly performance reviews tied to merit increases
5. Hiring managers who are capable of developing the people under them
6. Managers should provide opportunities for employees to perform new and various assignments, and the company should have a policy of favoring internal transfers and promotions over outside hiring, to the extent allowed by law.

Unfortunately, most companies would rather deal with the burn-out and turnover then invest in their employees' happiness.

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