The covenants of labor start with 8
By Leanne Hoagland-Smith September 1, 2012 3:30PM
On this day honoring the labors of the American workforce from the frontline workers to the entrepreneurs to the C-Suite executives reaffirms the covenants between employees and employers as well as their customers.
Covenant is not a word heard much in today’s society and possibly should be brought back into the mainstream business vocabulary. This word is from the Latin “to agree” and suggests some formal binding agreement.
Years ago, there was an implied and binding agreement between employees and employers that being “8 for 8.” Employees agreed to perform eight hours of work and employers agreed to compensate for those eight hours of work.
Yet research from Gallop and other firms suggest that this covenant -- 8 for 8 -- is no longer actively practiced. According to the most recent research approximately:
• One out of four employees is actively engaged – giving 8 for 8
• Two out of four employees are engaged – giving 6 for 8
• One out of four employees is actively disengaged – giving less than 6 for 8
What is interesting to note is the U.S. labor force is still considered to be one of the most productive in the world even with a 25 percent disengaged workforce. Pretty amazing! Just imagine what our workforce productivity would be if everyone was at least engaged?
Then there is the employer’s covenant of demonstrating consistent ethical practices within the organization. The ongoing corruption relative to executive leadership mismanagement to bullying bosses shows how this agreement appears to be easily broken.
Finally we have the customers’ covenant of exchanging his or hers productivity efforts (dollars) for something of value (products or solution). This exchange called buying or selling implies a covenant of expectations that the purchased solutions will meet the customers’ value perception. If this agreement fails, then the customers start complaining and the organization may have their name associated with some negative branding such as back in the 1960s with Ford (“Fix or Repair Daily”).
Covenants are truly the core business ethics or values embedded within organizations and individuals. How organizations agree to treat their employees, their customers and their vendors is critical. Additionally, individuals also have their own internal value statements from the Golden Rule to their own personal written code of ethics.
As work resumes on Tuesday, maybe it is time to clearly articulate your covenants with your employers, your employees and your customers. Are you upholding your agreement to:
• Give 8 hours of work for 8 hours of pay?
• Treat your employees with respect and integrity?
• Deliver solutions that meet if not exceed your customers’ expectations?
P.S. Shout Out – To the Northwest Indiana labor force from the small mom and pop entrepreneurs to the C-Suite executives who continually strive to make our community a great place to live.