It’s not enough these days for employers to pay their staff for a job well done. As employees we want more. We want to feel part of something bigger. We want to feel like our employers care.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that! While money is most people’s prime motivator for going to work (because, obvs) we also benefit from relationships with colleagues and a feeling of achievement.

It’s fairly common these days, certainly in my job searches, for ‘good working culture’ to be mentioned in the job advert. Employers may class themselves as ‘great to work for’ or having a ‘family feel’. But how much of that is all talk?

Only a mercenary (or stupid) employer would tell their staff that they’re just a number, contributing to the bottom line, but there are nice words and then there are the associated actions.

Is your employer all they seem to be? Here are some signs that may suggest they’re not!

Terms and conditions of employment

So you know what your salary will be, and how many days annual leave you’ll get. Great! But don’t forget to read the small print.

  • Does the company have compulsory shutdown over Christmas? They may require you to use some of your annual leave to cover those days.
  • Are you entitled to any sick pay? If not, that’s pretty shitty, don’t you think? How can an employer really care about you if they don’t pay you for genuine illness, be that physical or mental? Many employers will put a cap on the number of acceptable sick days in a year, but not allowing any at all really sucks.
  • What’s your notice period? If things don’t work out on either side, are the terms equal? Do you have to give them more notice than they give you?
  • What are your entitlements in case of grievance during the first 2 years? Employment law only kicks in when you’ve been an employee for 2 years. Prior to that there is a recommended procedure for grievances and disciplinaries, but this can be over ruled by whatever is stated in your contract or handbook.

False and broken promises

If you were promised a salary review or promotion that never seems to happen, that could be a sign that your employer doesn’t really care about you. Introducing additional levels of management into the hierarchy so you end up further down the food chain could be another.

Treatment of other staff, and obvious favouritism

  • Favouritism exists in most workplaces in the same way as teachers pets’ exist in schools – it happens. But ask yourself is the favouritism justified? Also, is there fickle favouritism? If the flavour of the month changes when new staff join the business, perhaps the organisation, or certain people within it, are not as caring as they make out.
  • Is there a high turnover of staff? In some sectors and jobs – like telesales organisations – this is quite normal. In others it may be cause for alarm. If people disappear without being allowed to work their notice, or even say goodbye, perhaps the employer isn’t as nice as they pretend to be?
  • What’s the general feel amongst other staff? Are their grumbles on the grapevine? Dig a little deeper under the shiny facade and you may find that others have experienced issues you may be concerned about, like lack of pay review.

Flaunting their success without rewarding staff

In my first ever job my manager refused to have a brand new car because he said it portrayed the wrong image to customers; that the company was making too much money at their expense. Replace the word customers with the word employees, and the same can apply. Business owners and senior managers are obviously entitled to reap the rewards of their work and their positions of authority, but when the staff are working hard and their salaries aren’t being reviewed while the people at the top are clearly having a financial whale of a time, it can leave a sour taste.

What to do if this applies to you?

If you feel that your employer doesn’t care about you, you have 2 choices:

  • Suck it up and deal with it
  • Look for another job

It’s that simple! Sometimes we can forgive the actions of our employers because we’re happy with other aspects of our job; like our colleagues or the easy commute. But if you’re finding the same issues arising over and over, or that you’re becoming increasingly unhappy both in and outside of work, maybe it’s time to start looking around.

What are your thoughts on caring employers? Have you got any good (or bad) stories? Let me know!

Thanks, as always, for reading!

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