Good News: Your Job's an Alliance, Not a Marriage

Smart employers, says Ben Casnocha, no longer promise — nor expect — lifetime loyalty.

Job interviews are ridiculous. They have been shown, over and over again, to not only be an incredibly ineffective method of hiring the best employees — but also incentivize deception. And one of the most common ways in which potential employers and employees deceive one another is in overselling the relationship.

In the not-too-distant past, says author and entrepreneur Ben Casnocha, most applicants sought job security, and ideally lifetime employment, and employers sought long-term loyalty in return. In a more stable, less creative economy than today’s, this was entirely realistic. But in the age of disruption, when even more established companies must constantly adapt to keep pace with startup culture, it’s a new deal entirely.

Smart employers, says Casnocha, no longer promise — nor expect — lifetime loyalty. They are looking for creative, ambitious people who are interested in a firm, but temporary “alliance.” The terms of this agreement are simple:

Employer X offers:

  • meaningful work and an opportunity to make a substantial, notable impact on the company.

  • a commitment, for at least the amount of time the employee needs to make this impact, to further the employee’s career goals.

    Employee X offers:

  • total commitment and professional loyalty for the duration of the employment, on the understanding that it’s a waypoint on the journey of his/her career.

    More realistic than romantic, this “alliance model” better aligns worker/employer goals, ensuring that the needs of individuals and the companies they work for are met, and that no bad blood is spilled. It motivates employees who are focused on their futures to commit their full energies in the present, and their employers to invest fully in the future success of temporary workers.


    Image Credit: AFP / Stringer


    This post is part of Inside Employees’ Minds: a Big Think partnership with Mercer that examines employees' changing mindsets and the ways workplaces are responding to them.

    Mercer’s new Inside Employees’ Minds™ research reveals what more than 4,000 workers in Canada and the US think about their jobs, their employers, and the changing work experience. It explores trends in employee engagement and the evolving employee value proposition, highlighting key differences by generation, job level, and more. The research confirms that, as business needs and the workforce composition continue to evolve — with the boomer generation moving toward retirement and the preferences of the younger generations starting to dominate — employers need to rethink and reshape their value propositions to lay the foundation for future success. In this compelling video series, Mercer business leaders and other noted experts share their thoughts on the transforming work experience and what it means for both employers and employees.

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