Oman Observer

The other side of the employment coin

For almost six years now I have exhorted others, particularly the youthful job-seekers of Oman, to be enthusiastic, reliable and dedicated to their jobs, and their employers, and to treasure their jobs, to take part in continuous professional development, and to be ready for whichever opportunities present themselves in the future, because these are the qualities and attributes an employer, any employer, seeks.
Today, the boot is on the other foot.
Employers, whether organisations or institutions, governmental or private, bosses, management and supervisors, whatever they are titled, and however they see themselves, have moral, ethical, professional and financial obligations to those they employ, and it is important that those in positions of authority recognise their many obligations.
The problem is that many still regard themselves as aloof from, or distanced, from the needs of those who rely upon them. It’s all about the title. Societies around the world have progressed beyond servitude and domination during the last century, to the stage today where communication, transparency and inclusion are the keys to vision and mission statements, policies, procedures, and the organisational mantras by which we must exist professionally and continue to evolve as.
First, in the case of employment advertisements, interviews and vacancy filling, it is vitally important that the knowledge, skills, qualifications and experience announced as the criteria for selection are adhered to, and if changes to the organisational requirements are identified during the employment process, then as unpalatable as it may be, to keep faith with the candidate pool, the position must be re-advertised.
There could be little more devastating for a job-seeker than to find the parameters have changed and they are no longer a primary candidate, yet, it continues to happen. Employers and human resources must have a single focus on hiring the best person for the job, and by maintaining a ‘level playing field,’ throughout the process, will maintain the highest of standards.
It is essential, for the sake of achieving maximum productivity, that a workforce must feel valued, respected and included, and that especially in times of change, or difficulty, that the staff are kept fully informed. Silences, platitudes and meaningless utterances are unacceptable in today’s environment, with transparency, the “clear and understood sharing of information,” as advocated by Murray Stewart of pharmaceutical giant Glaxo Smith Kline.
Mother Teresa wrote that, “Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable,” but that you should be transparent anyway. I think she is only half right, and that transparency demonstrates trust, and is therefore one of the most authentic and valuable cornerstones of positive work relationships.
Of course, we can and do ask questions, as we are wont. We are that one, most unique of species, that wants to know why (?) and has the capability to question, why? So why are mere questions considered so offensive? Can truthful answers and clear responses be so harmful? The reality is, that anything less than transparency can only create a negative work environment.
Managers, like their workers, must also evolve. To be dismissive of workers, their knowledge and opinions because they are functioning at a lower/lesser level simply doesn’t make sense. Why hire someone for their knowledge and skills, only to ignore them? Involve those who are ‘your people,’ and respect their input by providing feedback, if it’s not wanted, so be it, but don’t ignore your primary intellectual assets.
To conclude, today’s employment candidates and employees have expectations of equal opportunity, contractual security, clear communication, transparency, inclusion, and the opportunity for merit-based professional advancement. Oh, and, a salary, paid when due, that reflects respect for the employee’s knowledge, skills, personality and output, and in doing so should reflect your character, rather than theirs.
That’s not too much to ask is it?

Ray Petersen
petersen_ray@hotmail.com