‘Why Should I Work For You?’


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I recently listened to an interview with Vic Conant of Nightingale-Conant talking about the shift in their program sales. During the 80s and 90s, such corporate names Tom Peters and Warren Bennis dominated program sales. However, since the early 2000s, there’s been a significant shift to programs for those want to become in charge of their own destiny. This “Brand You” trend has been going on for more than a decade, posing a significant exposure to today’s companies. As the workforce ages and changes, we’re going to have less available talent than ever. Given future economic uncertainty, more and more of the available talent will opt out to work for themselves. The question becomes: What can we offer the best and brightest that will convince them it’s in their best interest to work for us rather than for themselves?

Here are some of the reasons why many of the best want to work for themselves:

  • The perception of greater financial security. This holds true even though most start-up businesses fail.
  • Control over where their career path.
  • The ability to create a flexible work experience.
  • The flexibility of working with only the people they choose to.
  • The potential for full creativity.
  • A lack of office politics, nepotism, or complaints about the expense report.
  • Access to Internet, franchising, network marketing, and software tools that make it easier than ever for people to work for themselves.

In a sense, these workers are willing to swap the security of a paycheck for the lure of personal and financial freedom.

To help the cause, I’d recommend these guidelines:

  • Open your books. Treat employees like owners.
  • Work with them to map out their careers.
  • Provide flexibility: Flexible hours, reduced hours, job sharing, telecommuting, etc.
  • Let them provide input on who joins the team.
  • Give them permission to be creative. In fact, require them to give monthly suggestions on how they can do their job better or differently.
  • Reduce the drama. Otherwise, you end up with drama kings and queens. Hire and promote based on competencies and don’t put up with irresponsibility.
  • Use today’s technologies to help employees increase their productivity — and pay.

Don Phin, JD, CPCM is president of HR That Works, Inc., a firm specializing in management, employment law, and risk management. He serves as the Human Relations Key Consultant for IMMS.com. Phin, a past president of the American Academy of Employment Law Attorneys, can be reached at (800) 234-3304; e-mail [email protected]; or visit www.hrthatworks.com.
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