“What employees aspire to do is work that makes sense”

Ihe polls concerning the prospect of longer working life in the pension reform project in France have highlighted the loss of attractiveness of work for many employees. Various factors explain this dissatisfaction: low pay, loss of meaning, arduous work, excessive speed, fragmentation of professions, social injustice, lack of recognition. What employees aspire to do is to do work that makes sense, to have the means and the time to do it and to be recognized as competent professionals.

It is rare that employees can find in the description of their job or their job an indication of its social utility. They basically find lists of skills there. How to become a “pro” if nothing is said about how to deal with work situations?

In many companies or organizations, we are witnessing an increase in the procedures to be applied. While some are obviously necessary and have made it possible to progress (gains in quality and safety, reduction of uncertainty, time saving, etc.), their excessive multiplication and their heaviness amount to sending employees a message of mistrust. “What I do is no longer a job! », exclaim, overburdened and discouraged, many employees.

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Being able to intervene as a competent professional means having the leeway necessary to adapt or invent one’s own ways of deciding and acting according to the specificity of the situations and contexts encountered. Procedures cannot replace the ability to understand and interpret a situation. Would it be enough for a nurse to “stick” to the details of a procedure for her to be recognized as competent? Faced with the unexpected and the unprecedented, you have to know how to take the right initiatives. Shouldn’t the management and organization of work meet the necessary conditions for employees to be able to use their skills?

Personal ways of acting

Employees therefore want evaluation methods that are not limited to measuring deviations from standards, but that ess and ensure recognition of the relevance of their initiatives and their personal ways of acting.

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When they consult the content of their workstations, the employees find there only a description carried out according to the sole logic of the division of labor and not taking into account the cooperative relations which would nevertheless be necessary for them to carry out their professional activities. The result for them is growing isolation in the face of the complexity of the situations to be dealt with, the hazards to be managed, the innovation requirements to be taken into account. An employee can be less and less competent on his own. He must be able to call on the skills of other professionals. If there cannot be collective competence without individual competences, there cannot be individual competences without collective competence.

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