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Dear Boss – Here is what I really need

Organizations spend thousands and thousands of dollars every year surveying their employees, paying for studies and research to ensure that they are “winning the war for talent” (I hate that saying), improving employee engagement and reducing turnover. Some get it right, some get it a little bit right and some miss the mark completely. The worst of the worst are those that don’t care and are so out of touch with their staff that they feel that it is a privilege for their employees to work for the company and that their salary should be all they really need. These same companies think it is all about the almighty dollar – that is, if I pay you enough, you will stay and do whatever it is I tell you to do and you will put up with however you are treated. Yet still, there are companies that think it is all about sexy perks – game rooms, free soft drinks/lunches, onsite gym, etc. I want to shed some light on this and let managers and leaders know what their employees really want. To that extent, here is open letter to the bosses out there from your employee(s):

Written LetterDear Boss:

I really appreciate the salary you pay me and the benefits package you provide. It is great to know that if I need prescription drugs or when my child needs their teeth cleaned that our plan covers x% of the cost. It is also great that you kick in some bucks to my RRSP plan so that if I ever get to retire, I will have a bit of money set aside. It is also nice each year when I get a 5 mins. meeting with you to discuss my performance review and you tell me that I qualify for a 2% increase – heck, who would say no to that. The free soft drinks, coffee and water in the lunchroom are a nice touch too – really, I do appreciate that.

Here is the thing, those things are nice and I really want to stay with ACME Industries long term. I really hate the whole process of updating my resume, trying to get references, applying for jobs and interviewing. I don’t want to have to do that. I have friends here at ACME and I enjoy the camaraderie. But here is what makes me want to stay, strive to do my best and stay long term. I want to be noticed and recognized. Say “Hi” to me in the morning or when you pass by me in the hallway. Don’t walk by my cubicle and ignore me like I am a spare part. Know me by name. Say “Thanks” when I have done something you appreciate or when I went the extra mile. Recognize the impact that my working overtime – nights and weekends – has on my family. Thank my spouse (because you know I have one and what their name is) for putting up with that. In fact, I really appreciate the odd gift certificate to a nice steak house so my spouse and I can enjoy a night out as a reward me putting in that extra time and effort.

You know what else I like – respect. As I respect you as my manager, please respect me as your employee. I am not a servant, a piece of machinery or a replaceable part. I am a person and I want to be treated with respect – so I don’t appreciate being yelled at, belittled, humiliated or scolded. If my performance is lacking in some areas, tell me – PRIVATELY. I am an adult – please call me into a private room and discuss the salient points with me. I want to do a good job so if you tell me where I am falling short, I will focus on those areas and improve…and please tell me about it soon, like around the time I first missed the mark. Don’t wait 10 months and have it show up on my performance review for the first time. And speaking of that, I would love to have more conversations with you throughout the year as it pertains to my work and personal development. I want to know that there is a future for me at ACME. I want to know that you value my work and want to invest in training and developing me. I also want to utilize my knowledge, skills and abilities. Let me put them to use – don’t put me in a box and expect me to be happy for the length of my employment – I need to grow.

Last but not least, keep your word. When you have committed to meet with me on particular matter (that is important to me) don’t cancel on me. Don’t allow other meetings to impede on our time. Don’t answer your smartphone during our meeting (see respect). I understand from time to time other pressing matters come up, but when you schedule time with me, you should keep your commitments. Also, when you commit to getting back to me on a work-related matter, you actually do that. My work is impacted by your input, decision-making, etc. so don’t leave me hanging and frustrated. Also, when push comes to shove, back me up – don’t throw me under the bus to save your own skin. If I know you support me, you will have my loyalty and I will work very hard to make sure you look good in front of your boss.
Thanks boss for taking the time to read this. I truly appreciate you taking the time to understand a bit more about me. I want to keep working for you and for ACME and I think we can both accomplish our goals. What’s that? Oh, you need to discuss all this with HR? Oh, ok. I guess I better work on that resume after all………

Image courtesy of lamnee/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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3 Responses

  1. Great stuff Scott! I am glad it is being said out loud by someone. I strived to be like this type of positive TM when I was at C. I checked in, said hello. Worked with my people and recognized them for the great job they did. My comments at P.A. time were never a surprise as anything mentioned had previously been discussed. I did know the treatment you described. I witnessed it and personally experienced it on occassion and it did not feel good. I hope in my career I will be able to influence and coach these positive behaviours to those I advise.

  2. Reblogged this on The Armchair HR Manager and commented:

    From the not so dusty archives

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