Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Good bosses come out on top - 06/2001


The boss-subordinate relationship is the most important factor in motivating employees and establishing a positive ëpsychological contractí. A wide range of communications approaches can be effective in influencing employee attitudes, but it is those closest to day-to-day performance and to the job that are most effective. Top-down communication from senior management is generally seen as the least effective approach to getting key messages across. Mission statements, which are widely used, are no more than moderately effective.

A CIPD report confirms that many employers are finding a new framework for managing the employment relationship. The psychological contract has been described as ìthe perceptions of both parties to the employment relationship, organisation and individual, of the obligations implied in the relationshipî (Herriot and Pemberton, 1995).

More than one in three personnel managers say they use the idea of the psychological contract to manage the relationship with their employees. Others do so implicitly by taking care how they communicate what the organisation expects of employees and what employees can expect in return.

Says Emmott: ìThe awkward truth is that managers at all levels can and do influence employee attitudes and expectations, even if they individually have little power to influence delivery.î

The report also finds that:
performance on a range of measures is positively influenced where organisations keep their promises and adopt enlightened people management practices there are limits to organisationsí commitment to their employees. Two-thirds of managers agree that employees are willing to put themselves out for the organisation. However only half believe that the organisation is willing to put itself out for employees most managers agree that employees are motivated to do a good job, but only a minority is satisfied with the amount of innovation and new ideas coming from the workforce.