Every so often a populist fervor takes over social media or the editorial pages of various newspapers highlighting so-called enlightened work environments. Hailed for their employee friendly aspects from pay levels, flexible time, and all sorts of benefits from health coverage to smoothie machines, companies are acknowledged for how they provide for employees. The subtext essentially yells, “…and shouldn’t it be this way everywhere?!”
Simply answered, no. It shouldn’t be this way… but not why most people might think.
The issue of what a company provides or does not provide is not a matter of should. It is a matter of what matters to the ongoing concern of the business. Before we go any further, let us remember that a company or an organization exists to fulfill on the concerns and/or interests for which it was founded (or is currently constituted). Those concerns (i.e., regard it as important or interesting to do something) can vary significantly, such as providing a good and/or service, providing a positive impact to society, or simply providing a certain income and benefit to the owners and stakeholders of the enterprise.
A quick aside: Many people will say that the concern of a company is ‘to make money.’ Those people are almost always wrong. Though an important element to have an ongoing enterprise, it is usually not a concern of the enterprise. If it were, the company’s actions would be consistent with having the highest possible profit without a concern for what comes next, i.e., the future.
So if the company is not here for us, what are we here for? Simply answered, we’re here for the company. That does not mean to say that why you are here on earth is for the company; such conversations are for a different forum. What it does mean to say is you and I are under employ by our organizations because we currently provide something which the organization sees has it fulfill on its interests or concerns. It’s doubtful you or I are the answer to our company’s woes or opportunities. However, we are at least some of the answer which is why the company has the job that we do and has, at least for the time being, you and I in those jobs, respectively.
So why do some places have pool tables, gym memberships, industry leading pay packages, and Massage Mondays? Let’s explore that in our next blog…