What Promises Do You Make to Your Employees?
And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
If you’re reading this, you’ve probably been the one sitting in the office chair behind a desk, facing a potential employee, and trying to figure out whether or not that person in the chair would be a good fit for your organization. You’ve been on the other side of the desk, too: the potential employee, trying to anticipate the questions you’d be asked by this potential employer.
Everyone is looking for something, aren’t we?
Employers want to know their risk will pay off if they hire you. Employees want to know they’ll be treated fairly, paid an honest wage, and given the opportunity to exercise their gifts while learning new skills and being treated with respect.
The internet is teeming with advice for those on either side of the interview desk. Advice for the interviewee includes what to wear, what to share about your strengths and weaknesses, whether or not you should talk with your hands or leave them folded in your lap.
For the interviewer, the advice leans toward making sure you don’t cross any ethical lines while asking questions that uncover whether or not this person’s skills, experience, and initiative jive with your company’s culture. Will they help you meet your bottom line?
As usual, Jesus takes a different approach. Jesus, when choosing the twelve people to work with him during his ministry here on earth, went to the least likely candidates. His interview of them lacked any questions. Instead, he offered a simple directive, combined with a promise. “Follow me,” he said, “and I’ll send you out to fish for people.” Knowing their faults and failures, he “hired” them anyway and committed to sharing everything he had to give and everything his new followers would accept.
To be sure, we aren’t Jesus, and as employers, we don’t have nearly as much to offer our employees. But what promises can we make to those we hire? How do we back up our promises to them, and what steps do we have in place to be sure we follow through? As followers of Jesus, those of us who have the honor of serving in positions of management and supervision have the great privilege of following the example set by Christ.
The disciples failed, over and over again. And yet, Jesus was true to his word, and you and I are proof of that. We, who continue to follow the teachings and example of Jesus the Christ, are the direct result of his promise to make fishers of men of those twelve disciples he first called to himself.
When we invite individuals to join our organization, we enter into a relationship with them, and we extend certain promises in the contracts we ask them to sign. The offer of employment extends beyond the employees’ first day of work. The promises we make to them and the promises we keep may be the litmus test of our integrity for generations to come.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Are you making the right promises to your employees? Are you making enough good promises to them? Are you following through and staying true to your word?
PRAYER: Lord, thank you for the honor of serving you through serving those in my employ. Help me to be a leader with integrity. Keep me aware of my responsibility, first to you, and then to those who work for me. Amen.