Participative Management from the perspective of the employee
Prime the pump
September 5, 2023

Participative Management from the perspective of the employee

Recently I sat in a forum and listened to long serving employees from various fields talking about how different things were when they joined their organizations in comparison to how things are now. One of them said, when he joined the organization in a managerial position, he was hired based on his experience in the market but these days the focus seems to be on academic qualifications. Another person interjected with “the young people these days are only focused on money, their focus is not on loyalty to the organization.” Another person said, “the people with university education are not as loyal as the those of us who worked our way up within the organization without degrees.”

I sat with a smirk on my face, itching to speak up on behalf of the brilliant young minds who are joining organizations not muzzled by their lack of education. There appears to be some obvious misperceptions as it relates to how Baby Boomers and Generation X perceive Millennials and Generation Z and these misperceptions are impacting how employees from the different generations are reached, communicated to, and engaged.

As a Human Resource Professional, I value the importance of years of experience as I value continued professional development and formal education. Any thriving organization needs a balance to avoid promoting people to the level of their incompetence.

A couple weeks ago, I began sharing the employees’ perspective on issues they consider important and are seeking to be heard and to be understood. Since the beginning of the series, we have covered “On change”, “On recognition” and “On performance evaluation”. This series was inspired by the book “Walk awhile in my shoes- real-world, gut-level message from employees to managers and from managers to employees”, written by Eric Harvey and Steve Ventura. In the series, I am the voice of the employees and today, we are looking at the employees’ perspective “On participative management”.

According to the law, we are adults. We can vote in elections, we pay taxes, most of us dress and feed ourselves and meet our monthly financial obligations. We are adults who have proven that we can think through and analyze problems. However, there are times when we do not feel as though we are treated as such. We are often treated as though we are children who cannot be trusted to make sound decisions and that bothers us.

If you know anything about Millennials and Generation Z it is that we spend a lot of time on the internet but some of that time is spent keeping up with trends like “participative management”, “teams” and “empowerment.” We know that these trends are important in today’s business. We understand how they contribute to the betterment of the organization. However, we do not feel like our thoughts and opinions are solicited as frequently as we would like.

We appreciate that you may not be accustomed to these new trends as things may have been different when you came through the ranks. However, it is important for you to understand that our intentions are good. Like you, we want to be part of a winning and successful organization. We do not know everything, but we can contribute and would like more opportunities to do so.

We know that you sometimes question our commitment and loyalty to the organization. We have heard you say on several occasions that we need to act like we own the business. However, it is easier to feel like we are a part of the organization when we are given opportunities to get involved. If as managers you have ever felt like you want more opportunities to say and do more, imagine how we as non-managers feel.

Visit my YouTube channel karenhearttalk for the managers perspective on “walk awhile in my shoes” gut-level, real-world messages to employees.


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