Posted by: rayseghers | August 17, 2010

Mutual Commitment: What happened?

When the Loyalty Institute launched its employee survey business in early 1997 it was a “buyer’s market.”  Companies were scrambling to attract and retain employees.  We talked about the “Battle for workforce share,” exhorting companies to create work environments that were conducive to long-term employee development.

Our new survey was entitled the Mutual Commitment Survey.  The idea was simple.  Organizations needed to give commitment in order to get commitment.  People talked about a win-win situation where workers were happy and productive and organizations were profitable.

Of course, 10 years later the economic situation was very different.  It was a “seller’s market.”  Now companies were scrambling to stay afloat.  Attracting and retaining employees was not only not a priority, companies were cutting employees left and right.  Creating an employee friendly work environment was long forgotten.  Even the Loyalty Institute didn’t survive.

What will the economic recovery bring:  mutual commitment or mutual distrust?  I suspect that at first it will be neither.  Companies are going to be desperate to rebuild their workforce and employees are going to be desperate to get a job and put food on the table.  After that, I’m not sure.  I hope that companies will start thinking about long-term employee relationships but I think that employees will have to remain at least a little skeptical.   Burn me once, shame on you.  Burn me twice, shame on me.

Of course, maybe it’s a moot point.  Younger workers don’t expect employment for life anyway so they will take care of themselves first.  Organizations will need to understand that and prepare accordingly.



  1. Good or bad employees nowadays will stay in place scared about what the market might (not) offer. Maybe some get tired and be brave enough to start they’re own venture. What does this economy and mutual commitment mean to outsourcing and consultants?

  2. Thanks, Jaime. This economy may make all of us contractors.

  3. Thanks Ray for these last two articles employee morale in a down economy. They were very thought provoking. The companies that will turn around first, are likely the ones that show appreciation for their employees – for that will be reflected on how the customers see the company.

    I think economic recovery is really about rebuilding trust and seeing more value in each other.

    • Thanks, Donald. I agree with you.

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