Office Politics & Employee Relations

By the end of the day Friday I will have left my current employer and will have begun working for another company.  I am leaving the steady world of real estate technology for the consulting world.  Thanks to a good friend of mine I will now be allowed to play with other technologies, learn Business Intelligence (that new buzz word that’s going around), and improve my programming skills.

To say it is not a sad thing that I am leaving my current employer is an understatement.  I have spent the last better part of 7 years (minus a forced 9 month sabbatical) of my professional career where I am at.  That means something to me.  However, I am not doing what I want to do and the pay is not as good as it could be.  And there in lies the problem.

Office politics comes with working in a professional work place.  The two kind of go hand in hand.  However, what is common place in most companies, runs rampant where I work.  It is because of politics that I have the job I have and the salary I have.  It is politics that causes me to have to leave to get the executives to  even consider giving me more money.  Should an employee have to leave (or threaten to) in order to get paid what they are obviously worth?  Should it take such drastic measures to people to wise up?  And should it really take multiple people from different teams leaving for more money doing the same jobs to make management wonder “you think we should pay them more?”

In a perfect world the answer to all of those questions would be “no” but since this is not a perfect world we are at the mercy of office politics.  I understand that it is exectuive management’s job to get the most work for the least amount of pay.  It is part of doing business.  There is however such a thing as employee satisfaction.  If your employees are under paid, and they find out they will leave without hesitation.  The result is you are stuck trying to replace the person at the pay they left at.  In reality, you get stuck paying the next guy what you should have payed previous employee.  Since you have to train the new guy, you are not getting your money’s worth until that person is up to speed on your business practices and company policies.

So where does this leave the executives who are trying to make a dollar?  Well, it leaves them trying to find that constant balance between pay and profit.  Realistically though, if they management would just pay their employees well (market rate at the very least), then you can bet that the employee will be less likely to look elsewhere for work.  Also, there is the question of bonuses and employee perks.  It seems my current employer has forgotten about these two things.  Yes, my medical benefits are some of the best in the corporate world, but that’s about it.  Sure, there is educational reimbursement, but it’s only 70% and it does not include books, only tuition.

I think that there seems to be a severe disconnect lately in the corporate world when it comes to taking care of the employees, the people whom actually deliver a product that executives can brag about.  If you do not take care of these people, you end up with no product to sell.  Or in my current employer’s case, you end up with a live product that you can support until you fill the holes left by those employees who are leaving for better opportunities.  Companies need to get back to taking care of their employees, or risk seeing a mass exodus when they need them the most.  And “taking care” means not only in pay, but in real benefits, bonuses, and extras as well.  They also need to listen the needs of their employees.  I would have been willing to stay for less money if my employer had listened to what I wanted and helped me fully achieve it.  As it stands now, there is not an open position to put me into so I can do what I want to do and it really will not exist for 2 months (if at all).  It really is not that hard to keep employees happy and in doing it, the employer can sustain a work force that is willing to do what needs to be done.

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