What if we treated our employees and spouses/partners the same?

by Oct 31, 2019

Consider that employees come into your organization expecting to be valued, trusted, challenged and treated well. They want ongoing constructive and positive feedback, autonomy and teamwork, effective communication, and more.

Doesn’t all of that sound a lot like the same things we want from our spouses, partners, family and friends? And vice versa?

When it comes to employers, however, the feeling may not be mutual. Many employers want employees to work hard for whatever pay was offered. They want to give feedback but may not be interested in receiving it. They probably want communication about the status of employee projects, but may not deliver the same courtesy. The list goes on. 

But work is a relationship. You wouldn’t be in a relationship with someone who expected you to do things that they weren’t willing to reciprocate, and why should your employees?  

Suddenly giving the annual performance appraisal doesn’t seem like a great idea. Imagine if we delivered that same conversation to our spouse or partner. Yikes. 

I really liked this comparison when I heard it from Jason Lauritsen, author of, Unlocking High Performance: How to Use Performance Management to Engage and Empower Employees to Reach Their Full Potential, who opened up an engagement conference I spoke at last week. The conference was put on by Achieve Engagement, and I picked up some great nuggets from several speakers that I’m going to share with you over the next few emails.

Jason’s speech reminded me of this blog post I wrote about psychological contracts with employees. I asked you to consider that new hires are essentially thinking, “this employer better furnish a safe and respectful work environment free of harm where I can be my best self,” while most employers aren’t even close to thinking about that.

Wouldn’t it be great to talk with employees about expectations on both sides? And rather than leave them as unsaid things floating around in our heads, we put them in writing? 

Check out my old post if you want to learn more about psychological contracts.

You might also remember we have a cool little tool we call Employee Engagement in a Box. Use the code eiabenewsletter to get it for $99, since you’re my email peeps. It’s normally $147.

About Catherine Mattice Zundel

Catherine Mattice Zundel, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is President of consulting and training firm, Civility Partners, and has been successfully providing programs in workplace bullying and building positive workplaces since 2007. Her clients include Fortune 500’s, the military, several universities and hospitals, government agencies, small businesses and nonprofits. She has published in a variety of trade magazines and has appeared several times on NPR, FOX, NBC, and ABC as an expert, as well as in USA Today, Inc Magazine, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, and more. Catherine is Past-President of the Association for Talent Development (ATD), San Diego Chapter and teaches at National University. In his book foreword, Ken Blanchard called her book, BACK OFF! Your Kick-Ass Guide to Ending Bullying at Work, “the most comprehensive and valuable handbook on the topic.” She recently released a second book entitled, SEEKING CIVILITY: How Leaders, Managers and HR Can Create a Workplace Free of Bullying.

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