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Articles about Employees, Managers, and the Company
Written by Dale Lee

An employee is hired to help the company make a profit

Table of Contents

Introduction (This is as a better place to start than at the end.)

The Company and Employee Form a Relationship (Is this a dating or a marriage relationship?)

The Company (The company is so big. I can goof off and not hurt anything.)

Employee (I am am so good that the company is lucky for me to work for it.)

Management (Why don't the peon workers view management as being on their side?)

Functions of Different Levels of Employees (Can you believe it. A poor performing employee thinks he is an excellent performing employeee.)

What Does “Fair” Mean (Does  "fair" mean "What I want?")

Job Duties Change (They changed my job so I would not look good on my next performance evaluation.)

New Computer Application (What right does the company have to change what I do to do my job?)
Realistic Achievement Expectations of Most Employees (I deserve the position I want so don't mess with my mind and talk about being qualified.)

The Impact of an Employee Not Doing His Job Right the First Time (How can employees think it is acceptable to do their job wrong the first time?)

The Peter Principle Is Alive and Well (Why can't this be included in the yearly reviews forms? "Achieved the Peter Principle. Yes or No.")

Your Company. Your Money (Ideal attitude. Treating the company's money as if it is coming out of your pocket.)
Your Comment Is Wanted (Your opinion is important to Dale.)

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Introduction (This is as a better place to start than at the end.)

The relationship between a company and its employees is based on expectations each has concerning the other. Clear and concise expectations help develop the relationship. Confusion develops when the expectations are not understood by one side or the other. It is sad that too often the company and the employees tend to develop into two camps that have their own expectations which may not have the success of the company as their common goal.

It is important for each employee to understand the purpose of the company, and what the employees is to do to help the company achieve its purpose. Working together for the common good of the company is what gives the company reason for employing employees. The success of the company is what brings revenue to the company which is where the company obtains money to pay its employees.

It is common for people to strive to achieve what they think is in their best interest. When an employee begins to think his job is secure, there is a tendency to focus on what he thinks is in his best interest. The employees that place high value on performing a good job will provide support for the company’s goals. The employees that are looking at what they can benefit from their job can develop work habits that can hinder them performing a good job. Doing only what they think they have to do can reduce their effectiveness. Thinking they are better than their boss or they are not getting their just rewards for what they do can create an attitude that can poison their work success.

Learning to have valid work perspectives is what can help keep employees and management working toward the success of the company which is what must occur if they want personal success.

An employee is hired to help the company make a profit and not just perform a job’s duties.

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The Company and Employee Form a Relationship (Is this a dating or a marriage relationship?)

There are two parties that form the employee employer relationship. The first party is the company represented by its representatives, Human Resource staff, management staff, and each employee’s boss. The second party is the individual that becomes an employee when he accepted an offer from the company to work in a specified position for a specific salary and benefits. It is safe to say that both parties are approaching the employer employee relationship with a win-win attitude at the time the employee is hired.

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The Company (The company is so big. I can goof off and not hurt anything.)

The company through its management staff, work with the non management employees to produce the company’s goods and services that are sold to produce income. One aspect of the company’s objective is to make a profit which means the company must receive more income than it spends to cover its expenses. If the company does not make a profit, the company will go out of business. No profit means there will be no jobs. No jobs means there will be no employees.

The management staff are employees of the company. Each employee should have the best interest of the company as a top aspect of their values. A problem that can exist at all levels of employees is that an employee forgets that if the company does not make a profit, there will be no jobs.

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Employee (I am am so good that the company is lucky for me to work for it.)

The employee works at the invitation of the company. The employee is not guaranteed a position for life or even through a probationary time period. To help guarantee himself a position at the company, an employee will work every day to do a good job. He will show his boss that he is concerned about the company making a profit and provide excellent service to the company’s customers.

The company representatives, management staff, evaluate the company’s employees to identify which ones are producing the necessary goods and services to justify the money the company is paying them. Think about how you go about hiring a person to perform work on your house. What do you look for in the person? How do you determine if you are getting appropriate results for the money you are paying him? What determines that you are willing to recommend the person to a friend?

A company hires a person to perform a job with specified tasks and responsibilities. The employee, by performing the specified tasks, can expect the company to provide a salary and benefits to the employee. The specified tasks, salary, and benefits are agreed to at the beginning of the employer employee relationship.

As the employee becomes more skilled at performing the assigned tasks, he can be paid more money by the employer through a raise or a promotion. There are times the duties of a job will change.

If the employee does not conduct himself at an acceptable performance level, the company may terminate the employee or try to find a position that fits within the employee’s job skill level.

There is a balance between what an employee produces and what a company will pay for what the employee produces. The pay received by an employee often is determined by the job market. This is what the company will have to pay to secure a new employee if there is a need to replace the employee or hire another employee with the same job skill set. An employee that continually works to improve his skill set will put himself in position to be more valuable to the company.


In some work environments such as the military and unions, a high value is placed on employee seniority. An employee with seniority to some people indicates the employees have the most experience, most knowledge, and are the best workers. Having seniority combined with effective productivity level does indicate a good employee. Seniority by its self is not an indicator of an excellent or good employee. Sometimes an employee with seniority can get the idea that he does not have to work as hard as he once did. This attitude can cause the employee to lower his level of productivity. He then becomes a poorer quality employee.

A fact of life is the company will at times hire a new employee that is actually more qualified than his co-workers. An employee can start improving his work skills and can become more skilled than his co-workers that have worked longer for the company. These type of situation causes problems when a manager is trying to determine which employee to promote.

If the employee consistently does not produce the minimum of what the company expects to be produced, the employee will be terminated.

If the employee consistently produces what the company thinks is acceptable, the employee has no fear of losing his job unless the company is sold or stops making a profit. If the employee consistently produces more than what is expected, the employee may be considered for a reward which can be a raise and/or a promotion. One thing about receiving a promotion is the company expects the employee to continue to perform at a high level of accomplishment. When an employee receives a promotion, he will also receive more duties, more stress, and different types of problems to solve.

Typically, an employee is not promoted until his management believes he will perform the new duties at an acceptable performance level. Often before receiving a promotion, an employee will be assigned responsibilities associated with the new position to see how the employee will perform. This can be called ”on the job evaluation time.” An employee that is not willing to accept more responsibilities without an increase in salary is often stopping his potential for of being considered for a promotion.

After receiving a promotion, the employee is expected to continue to perform at a high level of competency at the higher job grade. New duties are assigned the employee because of the promotion. Typically the employee will not be rated as high in the new position as he was before receiving the new position due to the employee having to learn to effectively perform the new duties. If the employee has been given the opportunity to perform duties of the new position before the promotion, he may be able to quickly execute the new position’s duties in an effect manner.

A fact of life that every employee needs to keep in his mind is that his direct supervisor is the person that determines if the employee is to be considered for a promotion and raise. The employee’s opinion of his abilities is not what is used to determine his raises and potential for a promotion. It is possible that in each job description should have the following duty. “As an employee of the XYZ Company, I will daily strive to meet or exceed the expectations of my immediate manager.”

 Ignoring the role of his supervisor in his future at the company is a trait of a not wise employee.

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Management (Why don't the peon workers view management as being on their side?)

The management of a company has to keep a close watch on the budget and is the company getting a value from each of its employees. All costs related to employing an employee are expenses to the company. Employees that are not performing at the acceptable level are lowering the profit of the company.

It could be viewed as a conflict of interest when the management staff that represents the company to non management employees are employees of the company. The management employees have different types of duties than the non management employees.

It is to the benefit of the company and employee that the duties assigned to an employee are kept to the current abilities or to the perceived potential abilities of the employee. Disservice is done to the company and employees if the employee is placed in a position for which he cannot perform at the acceptable level. This is always a possibility when a person is promoted without the employee having already shown that he can perform the required duties.

An interesting situation can occur when a person is given more responsibility without being given more salary. The management is giving the person the opportunity to prove that he is worthy of a promotion. The employee may not be happy with having the extra duties when other employees at the same level are not having to do as much work. This is an attitude problem.

The attitude of the employee can be a hindrance to an employee receiving a promotion. An employee’s attitude can impact his attendance, work ethic, how he gets along with co-workers and management personnel, follows the company’s regulations, how accuracy and effective he performs his job’s duties, etc.

An employee can be worthy of a promotion and not receive a promotion. A position has to be available in order for the employee to be promoted. Sometimes an employee’s skill set makes it possible for him to move to a position in another area of the company. The employee that has a variety of skill sets will enable him to secure a promotion or lateral move to another department. Sometimes a lateral move by an employee will put him in position to grow while his current position does not provide the opportunity to grow.

A focus on continuous improvement challenges employees to routinely perform tasks at a higher level of competency. It is to the best interest of the employee and the company if the employee does the best job he can at all times.

The effectiveness of a manager can have a direct impact on the productivity of his staff. A manager has the supervision duties for his direct report staff. Sometime a manager can be so focused on other duties that he neglects supporting his direct report staff.

A manager has the responsibility to:


          Get his staff to perform their duties in an effective, accurate, and a timely manner.

          Understand his staff’s job’s duties.

          Make sure his staff is adequately trained to perform their job’s duties.

          Make sure his staff has the resources needed to perform their duties.

          Make sure his staff have the proper management support as they conduct their job’s duties.

          Adequately evaluate employees at review time.

          Not reward employees with promotions and evaluation ratings that are not earned.

          Work with employees to help them improve their productivity and prepare themselves for promotion.

          Work with his management to achieve the goals assigned to his staff.

The productivity of an inadequately supported employee will gradually decline due to the influences the employee cannot correct himself. Some employees will confront his manager with the problems while some employees will struggle along in silence. A good manager will stay in contact with his staff so he knows what is happening to them.


A poor performing employee is a major problem for a manager. Correcting an employee’s performance requires the manager to confront the employee which is often difficult for many managers. This is not a pleasant thing to do. Some managers will strive to ignore the problem as long as they can. This actually creates more problems in the long run. When other employees see a poor performing employee look like they are “getting by” with the poor performance, they can question the value of “working hard” or doing a good job. When a piece of fruit turns bad, it can cause other fruit in the bowl to start to deteriorate. Employees behave like fruit which is why quick effective action by the manager is needed when a problem is detected.

A poor performing employee seldom turns himself around without his manager’s involvement. A good manager will, when he notices a problem with an employee, talk with the employee to find out what is generating the problem and take appropriate action. Often effective action can rehabilitate the employee to being an adequate performing employee. If the employee cannot be rehabilitated, action is to be taken to terminate the employee. Either way, the company will benefit from the manger’s action.

The process of terminating an employee at some companies is a long and tedious process that requires a lot of effort on the employee’s immediate manager. The complexity of the termination process at some companies causes some managers to prefer to limp along with the poor performing employee or try to get the employee transferred to another department. Either action may relieve the current manager of a problem employee, but it causes the company to still have a poor performing employee on its payroll. In some companies, the Human Resource Department’s rules make it difficult to get rid of a poor performing employee. This situation rewards poor performing employees with a job. So much for what is best for the company idea.

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Functions of Different Levels of Employees
(Can you believe it. A poor performing employee thinks he is an excellent performing employeee.)

As an employee moves up the management chain of command, the type of duties change. At the lower levels, the duties are task oriented and are easy for management to determine if the tasks are being effectively completed. At the highest level of responsibility, the employee’s duties are oriented to planning for the future, effectively handling the available company resources, budgeting, determining new products, expanding or cutting staff, new facilities, etc.

Every position in a company is important. The level of responsibilities and the authority will vary with the positions. Evaluating how important is your job can be determined by looking at what can happen if I mess up my duties and do not achieve accurate results. Who depends on the results of my duties and how will their job be effective if I do not do a good job? Whom do you depend on in order for you to do a good job?

Different levels of employees and management with different job levels are interested in different types of information and data about the employees and company. Skill of an employee can be seen when they understand how to relate their problems, concerns, etc. to different levels of management. The larger the organization, the more levels of management the organization will have. Small organizations may combine some management levels.

The following examples define how different levels of staff will respond to different types of concerns and situations.

Hourly employees: Perform duties that are task oriented. Some hourly employees can have some responsibility of managing work flow and are referred to as a coordinator or team leader. They work at the direction of a Supervisor or team leader.

Salaried employees: This position often requires a college degree and is not eligible for overtime pay. Management employees are salaried, but all salaried employees do not have management responsibilities.

Technical/Professional employees: These employees possess specialized skills, certification, knowledge, etc. They are salaried employees and are normally supervised by a supervisor or manager.

Consultants: They have an expertise, and they can be classified as a contractor or an employee.

Contractors: People that are hired to fill a specific task and will be terminated when the task is completed. Temporary staff is often a contractor that is employed by another company and is assigned to work at the company.

Supervisor: First level of management. They are responsible for overseeing that the hourly and salaried employees perform their assigned tasks. They evaluate their employees and may or may not be involved in determining the budget.

Manager: Second level of management that oversees the management of the resources and staff that produce the company’s goods and services. Managers oversee the activities that flow between different sections and departments that control the production of the company’s goods and services. He is active in developing the budget for his direct report staff and their staff. A manager is supervised by a Director or an Associate Director.


Director: Develop policies that are used to manage the production of the company’s goods and services. Actively participate in the development of the budget and oversees the application of the budget for his department. The Director supervises the managers and/or associate directors. A Vice President supervises the Director.

Vice President: Manages a division or subsidiary of the company and develops the budget that is used to control the expenses of his division. A Vice President is very active in determining new direction for the company, new products, etc. He works with the President/Owner and gives direction to the Directors.

President/Owner: Normally has the final authority over all management decisions. He is responsible for directing the Vice Presidents and determining the direction the company is to take as it produces the company’s goods and services. The Owner’s supervisor is the customer and his buying habits.

Board of Directors: Gives direction to the President. The Board of Directors is elected by the stock holders of the company.

Customer: The customer has the final say so over the goods and services produced by the company. If the customer buys the goods and services in enough volume, the company can be successful. If the customers do not purchase enough goods and services, the company will go out of business.

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What Does “Fair” Mean (Does "fair" mean "What I want?")

When employees talk about their job and how they are treated by the company (manager), the word, fair, is often used. The word, fair, is used to describe what is happening in relationship to what the employee wants to happen.

Ideally, fair can be referred to employees being treated even handed and without bias. What makes this an ideal concept is how employees use the word, fair. If an employee is treated the way he wants, he is being treated fairly. If an employee is treated in a manner that he does not like, he is not being treated fairly. When an employee starts using the word, fair, ask him to give examples of what is happening that he thinks is not fair.

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Job Duties Change (They changed my job so I would not look good on my next performance evaluation.)

Changes to an employee’s job’s duties will cause the employee to struggle with the changes. It may cause him for a while to not be as competent as he was in performing his job’s duties. If he is a good employee, he will regain his competency after a learning curve. The employee that does not like changes may have a problem adjusting to the new job duties.

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New Computer Application (What right does the company have to change what I do to do my job?)

When a new application or a new version of the application is installed, the employees that use the application will find that they have to do some things in their job in a different way. Often the employee will need to get more data from the application and enter data into the application. This will mean that they are not using the same procedures to perform their job because of the new application.

It is common for some employees to resist the new application. Some employees may try to make the new application not work correctly. The employee that resists the new application will not be doing as good a job as he did the “old” way.

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Realistic Achievement Expectations of Most Employees
(I deserve the position I want so don't mess with my mind and talk about being qualified.)

A person cannot be promoted if there is not an available position he can fill. Some employees will not be eligible for a promotion due to their education level, knowledge base, experience, skill set, attitude, understanding of the duties to be performed, willingness to work (invest time), handle stress, etc.

Few employees think they are average which is supported by the way most employees complete their personal evaluation of themselves. The truth is most people are average. Average is not a bad classification. An average employee at a specific job level can perform his job’s duties without concern of being fired. There are few employees that can be classified as having the skill base that makes them able to exceed the minimum expectation of an employee on a consistent basis.

Some employees are able to increase their ability to perform a job’s duties by increasing his skill set and knowledge. Increasing his skill set typically requires an invest by an employee of time and money. There are employees that are not willing to make the effort to increase their skill base.

The higher an employee moves up the corporate ladder, the more he needs to be able to be a leader. There are many more followers than there are leaders.

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Impact of an Employee Not Doing His Job Right the First Time
(How can employees think it is acceptable to do their job wrong the first time?)

When an employee does not correctly perform a task, the employees that receive the result of an incorrect performed task will be working with results that are not correct. If the employee working with the incorrect results does not realize his situation, he will compound the problem by performing his duties on the incorrect results which will mean he is also creating incorrect results. The compounding of the problem will continue until an employee realizes the problem and stops the process.

Correcting the error and the compounding of the error may not be an easy effort which may be costly to the company, because of the number of employees that are involved in the initial work process and will become involved in the correcting process. Depending on how many departments’ employees are affected by the compounding of the problem, several management employees may need to be involved in making the decisions needed to correct the problem and insure that the problem is corrected. Will the employee that caused the initial problem be appropriately disciplined and educated in order to reduce the potential of the problem being again created?

Employees need to understand how they impact the company and its employees when they incorrectly perform their duties. The easiest way to drive the lesson home is to focus on how each employee’s job is impacted when he receives incorrect results from other employees. Incorrect results help create more incorrect results.

Employees need to learn how to evaluate results they receive from other employees to determine if the results are correct or valid. When received results are received, there needs to be a procedure for the employee to challenge the results if necessary. Challenging received results can cause other employees to become upset, but being able to verify results, when needed, is important.


It is sad that some employees do not have a high concern for doing their work correct the first time. They may be willing to cut corners to get the work off their desk and deal with the problem, if caught, is just part of performing the job. Management’s attitudes can help develop this poor quality of work attitude. Doing the work correct the first time is the result of the attitude of the employee and how strong his management is in enforcing the procedures that insure the work is performed correctly the first time.

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The Peter Principle Is Alive and Well (Why can't this be included in the yearly reviews forms? "Achieved the Peter Principle. Yes or No.")

A paraphrase of the Peter Principle: “An employee will advance to a position of responsibility at which he is not able to adequately perform the position’s duties.”

There is a lot of truth in the Peter Principle developed by Laurence Johnston Peter. When an employee reaches his position that fulfills the Peter Principle, he is a detriment to the company and is a liability to the employees that report to him and work with him.

The practice of having an employee to perform some or all of the duties of the position to which he could be promoted is an attempt to find out if the promotion will move an employee to his Peter Principle incompetency level.

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Your Company. Your Money (Ideal attitude. Treating the company's money as if it is coming out of your pocket.)

Some employees are not concerned about being efficient with the use of the company’s time, money, and resources. The attitude can change when they form a small company and hire people to work for them. Now the money being wasted is coming out of their pocket. A person’s attitudes tend to change when it is his money and his company’s bottom line that are being affected. Maybe each employee’s salary (pay check) should be tied to the company’s profit. The more money the company makes, the more money they make. Attitudes do change when a person’s salary if directly affected. Being paid on a commission basis creates a different attitude when compared to being paid a salary.

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Your Comment Is Wanted (Your opinion is important to Dale.)

If you have a question or comment about the content of this article written by Dale Lee, notify Dale. When you send an e-mail, be sure to include the article in question's title, your name, and your comments/questions. Dale is interested in hearing from you.

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August 6, 2005