As we celebrate the first decade of democracy, it is appropriate to reflect upon the developments that have irrevocably transformed our working lives. I have selected six developments that merit consideration…
• Corporate restructurings
Restructurings have emerged under various guises but for many employees it remains a euphemism for retrenchment.
• Share schemes
Share schemes have highlighted executive pay, employee retention and underlying costs. Some employees benefited handsomely from exercising share options while others, by contrast saw their paper fortunes decimated in the dotcom meltdown.
• Performance management
Performance management redefined the value of work and resultant pay. It introduced measures, weights and ratings while ending the automatic entitlement to an annual increase.
• Employment equity
It continues to grow in significance and is a key factor in organisational culture, workplace communication and employment decisions.
In the past decade, almost every Budget speech has slowly whittled away structuring tax efficient packages. Employers have not compensated for the tax measures leaving employees with the financial consequences.
Technology has raced ahead as a work enabler – in 1994, cellphones, e-mail and the internet were knocking on the door. Today they are the doors.
How have these changes affected you? Have you capitalised on them to secure fulfilling work, higher pay and favourable work conditions? Some employees have achieved it and continue to prosper on the waves of change. Or have these changes brought financial loss and emotional turmoil? Many employees are quite “content” to spend their lives complaining about their situation. I have yet to come across an organisation where the overwhelming discussion in the staff canteen or smokers area is not centred on work complaints.
If you identify with the latter scenario, consider charting a new course, starting now. This is easier said than done but perhaps the first decision is the most important. It all starts with you deciding to invest in your working journey. Just as you invest time, money and effort in their relationships, so should your working journey be a long term investment. It will empower you with the skills, knowledge and insight to capitalise on the changing work arena. Once you have taken this crucial decision, there is a range of courses and professionals that can assist you.
(Star Workplace, April 2004)