Sunday, October 14, 2007

Can a Workplace Be Too Enticing?

Some organizations are making the work environment such an enticing place to be, people are lining up at the door, clamoring to be hired. Let's face it…from an organizational perspective, if you're competing for the best talent, why not tempt future employees with perks? It gives you the edge right?

Many companies are cutting back on the extras and staff find themselves bone weary as they work long hours in less than energizing environments. Many burn out and many more leave for greener pastures if they have the caliber of resume that attracts potential employers. From the hiring perspective, if you lure the best people away from their current jobs and universities by offering them more money, that might be good enough bait to get them into an interview or conversation, but add on perks like an executive chef on premises, nap rooms for when you need a break, showers and state of the art work out centers and why wouldn't someone want to come and work for a place that has all that, right? It's in the've got them!

That's the goal. Get the best people and make life so comfortable there that they wouldn't think of leaving. Sounds like a plan, but have these companies thought of the ramifications of this?
And even if they have, do they care enough to do something about it?

What I'm talking about is, staff love working in these organizations so much and enjoy the perks to such an extent that they're spending really long hours at work. Some are sleeping over to get an early start in the morning and not going home every night to the detriment of their home life…that is if they still have a home life to go to once they've (as their spouses and partners call it) gone MIA.

Companies preach work life balance, however if they're making the environment so 'luxurious', and know their employees will stay longer, don't they realize there are consequences to their home life? And if they do realize it, what are they doing about it if anything?

The company becomes a community of sorts and the staff is so used to having meals together and interacting for so many hours straight they forget about the outside world and the people they've left behind. It's subtle. One day gets a bit longer than the one before and before they know it the rest of their world ceases to exist. There's no one left to go home to.

Oh it's great to have a company care enough about their people to make sure the environment is a comfortable one, but it's also important to make sure that's not taken to the nth degree to the detriment of everything else in their staff's life. That's a whole other balance.

Does this scenario or a part of it describe what's happening to you? Do you want to define your life by what goes on within the walls of the company you work for? It might boggle your mind to think this might be happening but take the 'might' out of the equation because it is. What started out as a great idea for all the right reasons, is creating results no one considered then. Some are taking stock of this now, paying attention and doing something about it. And if they're not, I certainly hope you are.

It's fascinating. I wrote about this last summer in Fast Company Experts and received some very interesting responses such as "OK so now you're complaining that a workplace can be TOO good?" and other similar comments. I'm not complaining about anything. I'm just asking the question. That's what coaches do...ask questions to help you figure out what works for you.

So is it working for you?

Donna Karlin

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