• Captain Marcus

The Disconnect: Why employers and employees don't share vision

You're either a boss or an employee reading this.

If you're an employee, you say "yep, that's how it is!"

If you're a boss/manager/supervisor/director/etc., you say, "well, that's not how we are..."

Both sides have to be honest with themselves. Because this is the very disconnect that I'm talking about: a disconnect of perception.

Employees feel that their leaders are dictators who sit up in ivory towers and have no clue about the pains of the lower level. They're correct.

Bosses think that their employees are lazy slackers who don't share the same passion for success that they do. They're also correct.

So...where's the disconnect?

To answer this, we need to understand why both sides are correct. Let's start with the bosses.

Being a boss is not an easy job. You have to ensure the success of the mission(s) while making sure not to run afoul of state and Federal law, but you also can't just do everything yourself. You have to delegate and - dare I say - let people fail.

I say that, knowing full well that letting someone fail is an expense to the company. You're hiring someone not because they're a guru at their craft, but because they appear to be able to do the job, maybe with some mentoring, and you're banking on them having that one missing element, which is drive. A desire to be successful.

The problem is, very few people have true drive. The vast majority of workers are ones who want to be told what to do, instead of being allowed to explore and suggest on their own.

And so I come to the employees.

Being an employee of a company is not an easy job. You're constantly inundated with conflicting, confusing, often stupid requests. You're forced to sit in an office for 8 hours a day because some bean counter ran the numbers, but you're bored for 4 of those hours. The reason you're bored: the people you need are stuck in meetings, constant meetings. Meetings to plan other meetings. Meetings to talk about the outcome of meetings. Worse even is when you have to sit in meetings that have no purpose (at least from your perspective).

Employees, for the most part, want to contribute, but need to be told what to do and how to do it, more often than not.

Employers want employees who contribute because they share the vision, know what to do and how to do it.

That's the disconnect. A need for mindreading that will never happen.

But why is this? We can look at the US education system for clues.

You see, many years ago, before the rise of technology, most employees were considered blue collar. You either went to work the railroad or call center or some other type of menial work. But the work was predictable. You didn't need meetings if you were laying railroad track. You didn't have to worry about shift; you wanted to work a full day and were disappointed when there wasn't enough work available.

As technology has taken a front seat, the number of truly blue collar jobs has diminished to historic lows. We now see that white collar jobs are the frontrunner, and white collar jobs demand and require a certain level of education or greater in order to justify the salary they command.

Where we've gone wrong is expecting colleges to provide people with the knowledge to succeed in the workplace. It was never designed to do that. It was always designed as supplemental experience in a field; but nothing ever has, or will, beat good old hands-on experience.

Employers have hesitated to hire someone and train them, because there's a cost to training above and beyond the cost of hiring.

Employees aren't sure what to do with college, because of the risk that the degree they choose will end up worthless and they are left with a high student loan bill and no way to pay it off.

Gone are the days when people could simply choose the profession they've always dreamed off. Now, a person has to do whatever they can to make sure their family is fed and has a roof over their house. That often means learning a new trade, where there's no assistance from employers.

Meanwhile, employers continue to complain that they "can't" find the employees they need; when in truth, it's that their standards are way too high due to a refusal to train and mentor.

The divide is great, and growing greater, between employees and employers. It won't close or shrink anytime soon. All we can do is work to understand this divide, and really ask ourselves hard questions based on which side of the street we're on.

Employers: Why do you need excessive meetings? Why do you require college degrees? Why do you refuse to train or mentor? Why do you not build strong talent yourself?

Employees: Why do you stay in dead-end jobs? Why do you hesitate to think outside-of-the-box for new ideas and suggestions? Why do you not seek more for yourself as a person?

Until we're brave enough to admit we have a problem and confront these questions head-on, we won't see any substantial change in what is a growing issue.

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