Employment is a two-way street of voluntary behavior.
The Worker primarily wants compensation for his or her efforts. A regular and fair paycheck, occasionally bumped up to reflect company loyalty and increased job knowledge and effectiveness, is what most people look for during a job hunt. Some people want healthcare and retirement benefits at least as much as a strong income, but those forms of compensation usually kick in after a trial period of after certain employment goals are met. A healthy and safe work environment and enjoyable co-workers are also important to most Workers.
The Company primarily wants a workforce of motivated, productive, innovative, and pleasant people doing the work that the owners cannot do on their own. This is tempered by the economic reality that they cannot pay everyone want they want, nor would that even be appropriate since some people are better at certain tasks while others lag behind. Just as important, the Company would rather not go through employee turnover and the rehiring process as this is expensive: to get a new employee up to speed and trained properly takes time and money.
Once someone is hired, the process and conflict doesn't end there; it begins in earnest.
For example, today is my second full annual job evaluation since I started working with my current employer. My boss's and company's system of yearly evaluations goes thusly:
- The employee has job targets assigned to him or her and is expected to work towards fullfilling them as the financial year progresses.
- The manager of that employee notes important behavior.
- Near the May-June part of the year, the manager sends out a blank form for the employee to fill out in order to self-evaluate his or her performance in many areas, including job target accomplishment.
- The manager reads over the self-evaluation and includes it with one the manger makes.
- This document is returned to the employee so he or she knows what to expect when the face-to-face formal evaluation is done.
Lately, I've reduced that problem to a handful of calls. Unfortunately, it's been replaced by not getting back to work an hour after lunch. I've been trying to save money by eating at home and fixing whatever food I have. I'm only seven or so minutes away from work, but the cooking prep and eating time forces me to rush. The end result is getting back five to ten minutes late. In the last few weeks, it's been more like ten to twenty minutes late. So she laid down the law and I've had to change my habits.
Beyond basics like attendance and tardiness, my other biggest problems are in keeping focused on work (and avoiding things like blogging and web browsing...), timely completion of tasks (this has also improved over the years), and taking the initiative in doing things to help co-workers in their tasks. Since I'm an administrative secretary and provide assistence to the other thirteen people in my division, I have to be flexible and quick and I've got some improvement to build upon.
But in the end, after I recieved my manager evaluation yesterday, I was surprised my marks had gone up and her comments were as positive as they were. My boss was able to put aside my recent problems of tardiness and take into account the larger picture of my employment and job performance and compare it to my past behavior. For that, I am grateful.
We'll see how it goes today. My face-to-face eval is scheduled for 8:30 and they usually last 45 minutes. I turn 23 tomorrow and I take off for a long vacation in Florida on Friday, so I hope the eval sets a good tone. I have some of my own things to mention during the interview, so it should be interesting.
It went well and as good as I could expect it. Continuous improvement since Day One.