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Has your psychological contract taken a nose-dive?

Blog Post

Written by John Berry on 31st May 2020. Revised 4th November 2020.

2 min read

cropped Pilot miguel-a-amutio-Bi2myp K4y4-unsplashThe psychological contract governs the unspoken, unwritten relationship between employee and employer. It defines how the employee feels about their employer. How an employee feels dictates their commitment. Commitment makes motivation and engagement possible. Commitment makes management possible. And the psychological contract, as a form of goodwill or social capital, takes an age to build and a moment to destroy. So where will your psychological contract be, post-Covid?

Well, it all depends.

If you put staff before profits, if your managers and directors have shared the pain and if indeed there is still a firm to be employed in, the psychological contract may even emerge strengthened.

If it has been clear that employees didn’t matter, that there were no reserves in the firm to pay staff and that if it wasn’t for Government support, the firm would have gone bust, perhaps it will be another story. Perhaps the psychological contract will tank.

What employees think is influenced by how straight your managers were with staff and generally how fair staff believe your managers have been through the difficult times of the pandemic.

Your psychological contract – that which exists between your staff and your managers – can be re-built. It can be strengthened. It just takes specific long-term actions by your managers. Often it costs little. But it won’t recover in a day, week or month.

If you need to start building, call us for guidance.