With the current resurgence in Leftist Unionism in the Ports and Meatworkers I thought The time is ripe to re-publislh a Short piece I wrote on Employment Relations, work ethics, and Work Culture. I hope that after reading it You appreciate the Absurdity of The Left/ Right Political Divide in respect to Empolyment relations and get a glimpse of The Christian/ libertarian/ Free Market Rationale which is the solution. This piece also contradicts Randiod ‘Selfishness’ and shows The Superiority of Christian Values in Respect to running successful Capitalist enterprises.
And much more.
Whistle while you work!
A short guide to work ethics and work culture for employers and employees
by Tim Wikiriwhi.
Why Read This?
I chose my title because a mental picture speaks a thousand words. It encapsulates my reasons for writing this booklet. Primarily this book is about being happy about working and being in business.
I seek to guide employees as to why work is a great good, and teach them the right ethics to help them move forward and gain self-esteem.
I seek to challenge employers to foster happy, safe and profitable work environments so as to maximise the bang they get for their buck.
I want to expose the folly of the “Us vs Them” conception of employment relations and prove the contrary is true. That is, there is a unity of interest and common goals on both sides of the equation!
While I have no time for politically correct nonsense, I intend to show good employment relations are a win-win scenario, and explode the Marxist fallacies regarding profit as the exploitation of the worker. I criticise common faults in both sides of the employment contract and prescribe remedies for these common ailments.
I hope to do this with economy of words so that this booklet can be mass-produced at low cost. It is therefore not exhaustive but has the essentials, and ought to be sufficient to stimulate further study and discussion. Avoiding “dumbing down”, this booklet is about the simple truths that I think are sadly neglected and in dire need of promotion.
So read on!
The Dignity of Work.
As a man who has been in the work force for almost 25 years, and spent a few on the dole, I speak from experience that working is infinitely better than being on welfare!
The notion that “Dole-ies have it sweet” is plain stupidity! This attitude reveals a poor grasp of the virtues of being productive and self-reliant. Welfare is a trap. It is soul destroying, and often leads to crime and self destruction, whereas there is a wellspring of self esteem awaiting the honest worker when he understands that work is honorable and good.
Self-esteem brings happiness and despite what many think, working for wages can be the foundation of great wealth if the worker learns how to live on less than he earns, and how to make his savings work for him.
“It takes two to tango”.
Employment relations are a joint venture, and thus only achieve optimum results when both sides of the deal fulfill their obligations with equal aspirations to strive for excellence. If one side lets the team down the result will be less than optimal.
Work culture and work ethic.
I have worked in many different jobs and come across all sorts of people and work cultures. Some better than others. What amazes me is how so many workers walk around miserable carrying a chip on their shoulder. Workers must always remember that they are at work by their own free will choice and can leave any time they like. They are not slaves forced to work by their employers!
They are free to work in this particular job or to seek employment elsewhere. It is not the workers’ place to grumble about employer expectations. Workers must always appreciate that an employer has a lot invested in his company, and has the right to expect quality performance from their workforce.
On the other hand many employers actually stifle the potential of their work force in displays of petty vanity! Condescending bigotry is commonplace amongst self-absorbed employers and in extreme cases are the “Gordon Ramsays like the infamous TV series “Hell’s Kitchen”. Putting it bluntly “What bastards!”
I do not knock his striving for excellence, which is praiseworthy. I seek here to expose his terrible people skills and hellish work culture. Much of his behavior must be for the benefit of viewer amusement, yet serves as an excellent case study. Whilst being a crappy employer may not be a crime, it is always stupid and deserves ridicule. Employers ought never to forget that they hold the well-being of their workers in their hands and it is immoral to disrespect this trust that has been invested in their leadership and enterprise. An employment contract demands respect from both parties.
The Dynamics of Freedom.
It ought to be obvious that in a free society, intelligent workers who have self-esteem will not tolerate being looked down upon as lower-caste human beings. They will exercise their liberty and judgment and seek employment where they are respected and valued. It ought to be self evident to employers that such behavior will drive away intelligent workers at the first opportunity and leave the employer with only those who have no personal drive or self respect. I ask what sort of perverse ego desires to command such un-aspiring servitude?
Only small minded vanity cannot stand intelligence in others and instead of seeing independent thinking staff as an asset, they consider it a threat instead. What hope do these narcissists have of competing in the free-market with their apathetic workforce, against inspirational rivals who attract and retain smart working, driven thinkers into their enterprises? It is self-evident that the wise employer whilst setting high standards and refusing to ‘suffer fools’, will create a work environment where workers feel valued and virtue is rewarded.
When to Quit Evil Employment.
While I cannot deny Ramsay’s success, I can but wonder how much more successful he would be if he practiced better people skills, and also how many potentially great chefs he has destroyed and driven out of the industry. I have seen workers near suicide due to allowing their virtues to be taken advantage of by unworthy self-absorbed employers. I recommend all workers to escape tyrannical employers before their spirit is broken and they are driven to depression. I say, if you have good work ethics, you will always find employment. Don’t let ‘little Hitlers’ prosper from your efforts while crushing your esteem and values. Have faith in yourself and leave these hell holes in your dust!
The Pitfalls of Bad Employer Reputation vs. the Economic Advantages of Good Employer Reputation.
Employers who refuse to modify their pigheaded ways soon get a reputation as tyrants and apart from rare exceptions will begin to struggle to attract quality workers and so their businesses suffer losses (i.e. skill shortages, detached workers etc) that otherwise would have been avoided if they were decent bosses. They must offer higher wages to get staff, which puts them at a competitive disadvantage.
Ultimately not even higher wages will be enough to retain quality workers with self respect. Because of their own folly these foolish bosses end up paying higher wages for less valuable staff and must spend an additional sum on training because of their high staff turn over. This surely is a road to bankruptcy!
The wise employer who respects his staff will have lower staff turnover and consequently lower training expenses and get greater value from the training spend.
All this proves that being a respectful and responsible employer is good business. Such businesses attract quality staff like a magnet! With lower staff turnover, they end up with a highly skilled work force at minimum cost and thus their competitiveness and profits go up. Higher profits make it possible to pay higher wages without seriously harming your competitive advantage, and so you will attract even more quality staff. It is possible for such excellent businesses to have queues of highly skilled workers busting themselves to be a part of your team!
Trouble Attracting and Retaining Good Staff is an Indicator of the Need to Change Management Style and Company Work Culture.
I hope any gruff employers who have trouble retaining staff, can see the advantages I am expounding, get a grip on their egos and modify their behavior accordingly. I write these words not to poke fun, but in the hope that they may cast a light into the shadows, help turn around staff troubles, and lead struggling enterprises into the blue.
It is all too easy when times are tough to take your frustrations out on your staff. I hope my words expose the self-destructive nature of this folly and show that in tough times the best thing an employer can do is ensure his workers feel respected.
Most of the best policies to get optimal value from your staff don’t cost a dime
Applying the simple rule of “doing unto others as you would have done unto you” will pay big dividends and help you not only to survive tough times, but to prosper. By this I mean such simple things as saying “hello” in the mornings and “thank you” at night. Showing your concern for individual staff members’ safety and well-being. Employing smart middle management who are good-natured, courteous, and take a personal interest in those under their direction. All friendships must be subordinate to fairness when dealing with disputes between workers, and thereby maintained by respect. While duties ought to be delegated by merit, personal favoritism ought to have no place in the company.
Innovation and Progress Through Staff Input.
A wise boss will listen to his employees’ suggestions regarding tasks and operations. As staff are ‘at the coal face’, they can be a vital source of information on how to reduce costs, improve safety, product quality and customer service.
“We have always done it this way” is a stagnant philosophy. Staff that make suggestions are thinkers who are utilising their minds. Implementation of their good suggestions encourages them to take ownership of that part of the process and their general performance. This stimulates them to reliability as it gives them a sense of importance in the day-to-day operations. An employer who continually stifles good ideas will make his employees feel they are not appreciated, are wasting their time putting effort into the company, and are not important in its operation. This leads to Absenteeism with complete resignation not far behind. Enthusiastic workers must also never forget who is boss, and that they have the right to reject ideas they don’t like.
How Wage Prices are Determined by the Free market.
One common source of discontent among workers is the Marxist lie that profit is made by the exploitation of the workers. Any employer who operates his business by this same notion will not maintain an optimum workforce for long when the economy is strong and workers are in demand. The primary factor in determining the value of work is the law of supply and demand.
How the Law of Supply and Demand Sets Limits to Wages.
Competition in the marketplace sets limits to the value of products and services thereby setting ultimate limits to the price payable for the labor required to produce goods and services. For industry to remain viable it is impossible to raise wages above a certain cost without innovative changes to how the company functions. This includes such things as automation, improved administration efficiency, etc. At the end of the day an unprofitable company is a dead duck and everyone looses. Innovations that improve efficiency may make some staff redundant, however, it is not greed that is the motivation, but the necessity of keeping ahead of the competition in the market place. This is essential if the company is going to continue to function at all! Profit is not only good as it keeps the company viable, it is necessary to guarantee job security for the maximum number of employees possible.
How the Law of Supply and Demand Increases the Value of Labour.
While we have seen that the law of supply and demand sets limits to what employers can afford to pay and the need sometimes to restructure, it also is responsible for competition in the labour market, giving every worker the opportunity to maximise his wages by working for companies that offer the most money for their work. This being so it is essential that workers learn not just specific skills pertaining to certain industries. The wise worker will, through the desire for self-improvement, always be learning universal skills and developing work ethics that are sought after across the spectrum of the labour market. As an economy grows so too does the demand for labour, and so wages rise as employers vie to attract and retain staff. Just as it is true that the best employer skills in retaining staff are free, so too the best skills that make a worker attractive across the employment spectrum are also free. Qualities such as being punctual, honest, and reliable. Being a worker who is willing to learn new skills and pay attention to what their employer requires. Being someone who takes ownership of the amount and quality of his work, rather than being a slacker who is full of excuses for under-achievement. Such things as being methodical and yet innovative and always being health and safety conscious.
In so doing this makes you attractive to a greater portion of free enterprise than is the case with limited specific skills and poor work ethics. In terms of the law of supply and demand, this means an employer must be prepared to pay the maximum he can squeeze out of the value of his enterprise to retain his best staff as they will move on to greener pastures if they can do better elsewhere.
The Competition of Production/ Services with Other Forms of Investment.
A third essential factor governed by the law of supply and demand at the heart of capitalism is that money is invested into whatever area promises the best security and potential capital gain. Productive industries are in competition with such things as the stock market, bank interest, property investments etc. What this means is that investors will pull money out of poor earning or insecure investments and move it into areas that offer greater rewards. This is the ultimate reason any productive enterprise must produce a good profit so as to keep its financial backing and attract further investment for development and growth.
How Profit is Shared Between Workers and Employers.
If you have followed my arguments above you ought to be able to see that it is the dynamics of the marketplace that must be contended with if a company is to remain viable. It ought to also be apparent that employers need to keep their staff happy and to pay them the highest wages affordable and so the profit margin must be in balance with wages.
Why workers and unions must forsake draconian Marxism.
I cannot finish this booklet without pointing out that the principles above show the utter absurdity of the Marxist “Us against Them” mentality. It also shows the absurdity of making unrealistic wage-rise demands. It exposes calls for regulation of the market as an attempt to unbalance its free flowing dynamics so as to extort a greater share than would be justly allotted by its un-impinged self-regulation. Regulation is the road to economic depression as it hog-ties industry to foolish restrictions.
If a union seeks to truly help its members it ought to train them in work ethics and encourage them to self-betterment. It ought to engage in wage negotiations in an intelligent manner, and argue its position from reason, showing the employer that it is well aware of the factors of the marketplace and the balance between wages and profits. Unions ought to have the best interests of their members at heart, and so realise that unrealistic demands endanger the job security of their members and the viability of the company. Unions ought also to promote meritocracy in wage negotiations over blanket collective deals. By doing so they will get the highest wages for their most worthy clients and set up a culture within the workforce to strive to be the best workers they can be to earn the highest rewards. In this way the Union-employer relationship can be rescued from the Marxist state of war, and become one of mutual understanding and objectives.
Keeping Drugs and Alcohol out of the Workplace.
No exposition on work ethics and culture is complete without addressing the problem of alcohol and drugs. The definition of stupidity is to keep repeating the same actions and yet expect different results! In a nutshell drug-testing does not keep drugs out of work places any more that it does out of prisons. The only effect drug testing will have is stop many workers with good skills and work ethics from seeking employment in your company, if they enjoy a party pill or joint after work or on the weekends.
The best places I have observed are under employers that state “No drink or drugs on the job!” yet also have the policy that what a worker does in his spare time is his own business as long as it does not effect his work. This shows that the employer respects the privacy of his workers and yet sets a standard for safety and performance on the job. It also shows that while he is not playing God over them, he expects them to respect his governance over them during their working hours and thereby sets the correct dynamics for controlling drugs and alcohol on the job.
This will be far more effective than drug testing job applicants and random drug testing which is a policy of mis-trust. It also serves to remove a barrier that hinders many good honest workers from joining the company. Should an employee be suspected of drinking or taking drugs on the job, then a drug test is the proper course of action. Workers ought to understand being drunk or stoned on the job is the equivalent of theft, and any injury caused to others while intoxicated is no accident but the equivalent of assault! Intoxicated workers ought to be immediately dismissed and the reason for dismissal put in their work record. The moral of the story is work time is for working. Employers ought to judge workers by performance not by personal prejudice.
The Ethics of Self-responsibility vs. Strong-arm Policing.
Do not delude your selves. Alcohol is a powerful drug and it is irrational to treat other drugs differently. Growing social problems with drugs and alcohol are due to the loss of ethical self-responsibility (many illustrated in this booklet). Draconian police measures will never substitute personal ethics. They have always failed and will continue to fail as they do not address the fundamentals of human behavior.
Industry and the Environment.
Waste is unprofitable! The profit motive is the strongest reason to reduce waste. And secondly, (all other things being equal), discerning customers will always prefer the most environmentally friendly products over their more dangerous counterparts. It is therefore smart business to run a clean company that always looks for ways to environmentally improve its operations and products.
Respecting the Property of Fellow Workers and Company.
Respecting the property of others is a universal ethic. Do you like it when your valuables are stolen or destroyed? Obviously only a hypocrite can take pleasure in possession of stolen property or have no conscience when they loose or damage the property of others. You cannot expect to be trusted with the property of others in the future if you have proven untrustworthy of it in the past, and this is true not only when you borrow gear from fellow workers but also company property. Workers who prove their trustworthiness with small items of low value are most likely to end up in positions of trust over items and duties of high value. When I am asked if I’ll lend a tool to a work colleague I say “sure”, “but only if you treat them with the same respect as you would if they were your own”. I will not lend gear to someone I do not trust. Promptly return all borrowed items.
Damage to company property reduces their ability to raise wages.
Criminal Reform and a Fresh start (It’s never too late!)
All of the ethics written in this booklet will work for anyone!
I hope ex-cons reading this will grasp the fact that if they start to live by the virtues of work and free enterprise they can leave their criminal past behind them, and become good, honest, and valuable members of society. An ex-con can truly be reformed if he desires to “turn over a new leaf” and embrace self-reliance. All it takes is the commitment to live honestly by your own efforts. It is truly heroic to break free from old evils and make such a transition. You cannot expect it to be easy, yet you can expect to discover a new self-esteem and liberty from the darkness of the underworld. You can become someone your family, friends, and employers can be proud of!
The Value of Basic, Repetitious, or Dirty Work.
You might be an ex-con who has made the life-saving decision to forsake crime and live by your own efforts, or a teenager who has just started part-time work sweeping floors, or a trainee cleaning parts in a workshop. When an unproven worker starts out in the workforce with limited skills how you go about your duties can be much more important than what your duties actually are. All the values and work ethics of this booklet apply to every task from the most simple to the most complex, and like trust with property, trust with responsibility grows as you prove your trustworthiness and pay increases in proportion. Stories of self made millionaires and CEOs who have worked their way ‘from the floor up’ are common place.
“ If it’s worth doing, It’s worth doing well!”.
It does not matter if the job earns $2 dollars an hour or $200 dollars an hour. The worker who is punctual, honest, reliable, well mannered, and strives to achieve the best results ought to be proud of himself and is worthy of full praise. In fact many dirty or ‘boring’ jobs can take more character and self-discipline to do well than other jobs that have more “glory” or “kudos”. Employers ought to take special care to show appreciation for their workers who do tasks that are less than glorious. The wise employer will recognise that workers who perform well in dirty or trying circumstances are showing high character and the potential to get difficult jobs done. These people ought to be financially rewarded for their fortitude and seriously considered for upskilling and redeployment in key positions as theirs skills develop. Tough or mundane work can truly sort the wheat of human character from the chaff!
Personal Grooming and Hygiene.
“Cleanliness is next to godliness”. The importance and power of this proverb cannot be overestimated. So many workers handicap their chances of promotion due to untidiness. This laziness shows poor grasp of the importance of presentation in the business world. Poor personal hygiene is a grievous safety hazard to everyone and is inexcusable. It is unacceptable to turn up for work stinking like a pair of rugby socks, spitting and picking scabs, or when ill with communicable diseases like the flu.
Employers should consider providing their work force with clothing that is safe and tidy. This will eliminate excuses and immediately improve your company image.
An all too common cause of worker discontent is substandard washroom and toilet facilities and poor sanitation and house- keeping. Neglect to ensure adequate facilities is a shocking indictment of mismanagement and lack of concern for worker health and safety. Upgrading poor facilities will greatly improve worker morale and make your company a better place to work. The choice of cleaning staff must be scrupulous, not delegated to apathetic cretins! Clean facilities are an essential obligation and just as a worker ought to set high standards for personal grooming and hygiene without need of reprimand, so too a company ought not to need health department regulations to dictate the maintenance of decent facilities for their work force. Offering minimal sick leave is not clever negotiation in remuneration packages but shortsighted and ill conceived.
The Progress of Mankind and Society.
While the above testimony is very brief, it holds within its scope the dynamics of progress. Not only the place of technical progress but also the seeds of economic growth and improvement of quality of life.
Reasons for Whistling While You Work.
The knowledge that you are a productive worker with good ethics and are at work by your own free will, and are appreciated by your employers ought to give you a positive view of your circumstances and instill an optimistic outlook. You ought to spread optimism around rather than condescending pessimism.
The Virtue of Honest Work and Enterprise.
These arguments bear testimony to the virtues of running meritocracies with honorable work cultures and also the benefits of improving work ethics. It creates a culture of intelligence over ‘sloggery’, and promotes a mutually beneficial relationship of trust and respect. The virtuous businessman and the virtuous worker both have reason to be proud of who they are and how they go about getting their incomes.
Public Servants and Officials.
All state employees from the Prime minister on down must never forget they are the servants of the public and not their masters.
Public servant must remember they are employed by the people of the country, not the politicians in government.
It is your duty to be always accommodating in your dealings and minimize the impact of government impositions on the people you serve
When government action violates the rights of any citizen it is committing a crime.
. You must always put the rights of the people ahead of any rapacious political agenda.
Did You Get This Booklet From Your Employer?
If so be happy! They are recognising their responsibility to care for your interests, and promote a good work culture of meritocracy (meaning they are trying to create a workplace where good workers are rewarded financially and with job security.)
Did You Get This Booklet From Your Union ?
If so be happy! They are trying to show you they have your best interests at heart and that the best way they can negotiate higher wages and better conditions for you is by teaching you the right ethics, attitude and maximising your productivity!
Endorsements…. Do you have any positive comments regarding my booklet?
I would appreciate comments from any one whether worker, employer, teacher, police, etc.
Please contact me, and I will add it to this back cover!
Want copies of this pamphlet for your workforce? Personalise this booklet for your company or union.
Tim Wikiriwhi: firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: 07 849-8323
Mobile : 027- 663-0331
Tim Wikiriwhi is an Independent Libertarian, a Dispensational Christian, The father of two teenage children, and a self employed contract engineer by trade. He is the author of several booklets on ethics including Racial Equality Before the Law, The Defense of Free Trade, and Opposition to State Encroachments on Individual Liberty and Private Property Rights. He has stood for Parliament and Mayor of Hamilton City . He promotes limited government, free market capitalism, and individualist self-reliance. He believes good ideas don’t require legislation as good sense makes good sense!
* I recommend reading ‘The Richest man in Babylon’ by George S Clason and
‘The Puritan Gift’ by The Hopper Brothers.