Diversity and discrimination: multi-class society in the company

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The more a “we-here group” stands out from a “the-there group”, the more intense the feeling of social identification. And the more dangerous are exclusion mechanisms. Many already have to Company guard against a multi-class society in the workplace.

More class organization

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Anne M. Schüller's Profile anne-m-schueller_portrait-mit-hutAnne M. Schüller is a management thinker, keynote speaker, business coach and multiple award-winning bestselling author. She has repeatedly been named Top Voice by the business network LinkedIn.


From the author:






The defibration of working models

In addition to a core workforce in traditional employment relationships, there are many Company increasingly a collaboration without a classic employment contract: in projects, with freelancers, with temporary employment agencies, with interim managers. There are more fixed-term contracts and a larger number of contributing specialists, suppliers and business partners.

This shredding of working models brings both advantages and disadvantages to employers and employees. Sociologically speaking, something like a new multi-class society emerges: on the one hand, the core workforce with a “fixed” employment contract, on the other hand, the group of external employees who are either paid very well or very poorly.

The Shamrock organization

The Irish economic and social philosopher Charles Handy described this development years ago. He used as a symbol the Irish national emblem, a three-leaf clover leaf (shamrock). The Shamrock organization is based on the following elements:

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  • the core team around the management,
  • external experts and outsourced areas,
  • if necessary, bought “simple” employees.

If you take a closer look today, there is even a fourth “leaf”: the circle of cooperating customers who, through their commitment, help companies to improve. For providers who actively use this workforce, this results in a multitude of added value advantages. In my book “Touchpoints” I reported about it in detail.

The thing with the social prestige

"If you are not a permanent employee, you are in second class," said someone who should know. He lost his permanent job and returned to his old place of work through a temporary employment agency. It wasn't just the lower salary that hurt him. From the many small signs he noticed that he no longer really belonged. The loss of identification and social prestige troubled him more than money cuts at the end of the month.

But in manufacturing companies, this is quite normal: A permanent employee with an over-tariff payment works hand in hand with a work contractor at the lowest compensation level.

External: None of us

And it is paradoxical: The person who bears the highest risk of dismissal and gives the company the greatest flexibility is paid the worst. Even worse: the party has access to all operational amenities, the external party does not. Because of his differently designed work clothes, he can be recognized as “none of us”.

Even so, routine work that cannot be automated is being outsourced to service providers and bought back cheaply. What managers - quite apart from the issue of fairness - have to ask themselves in such “human chess”: How do you integrate and motivate such employees? And how do you make sure that there is no bad pecking order in the team?

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Flammable substance: the internal “caste system”

"With increasing volatility in the working society, the proportion of people at risk of slipping, marginalized and underprivileged - in a word precarious," analyzes the Zukunftsinstitut. "Even if they struggle to appear as hard-working employees, they are the first to be on the list of things to do when it comes to restructuring and rationalization measures."

And the precarious situation reaches into the middle management. Everything that computers can do is systematically eliminated. Only the difficult, the individual, the tailor-made and the special remain in the work area of ​​man. Even former experts, whose knowledge everyone now on the Internet finds, are degraded to handlings.

Thus, the gap between professionally well and poorly placed people is growing ever further. And while a pseudo-controlled cost-savings program can be celebrated at the top, a new caste system is emerging at the very bottom. If, however, the social gap between people becomes too great, tumors are a foreseeable consequence.

A constant coming and going

A second caste is the one with the fixed-term employment contracts, which will be temporarily discontinued and released again. There is a constant coming and going in such places. This fluctuation soon burdens everyone in the department. Every time new people have to be trained. Of course, all kinds of mistakes are made by the long-term ones.

Customers are being scared off because of the lack of expertise or because of their reliability. A transfer between those who leave after a short time and each new does not take place. At some point nobody feels like explaining the same things again and again. And increasingly frustrated customers are finally turning their backs - not to mention a deteriorating market reputation.

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When viewed in the light, the short-term cost savings from fixed-term employment contracts usually do not outweigh the long-term cost of the opportunity. Is your organization clearly and unambiguously required by the responsible parties that these costs be duly included in the calculation? And how do you ensure that temporary employees can become productive as quickly as possible without frustrating the core workforce?

Integrate external knowledge workers

A third caste are the external specialists who work on projects. The added value they bring is sometimes enormous. Many employees have had bad experiences with such people. Hordes of consultants buzzed through the company like a swarm of hornets and checked everything for process streamlining and cost efficiency. Afterwards, twice as much work had to be done with half as many people. This was then called work intensification.

The learnings from the employee's view: You can not deal with external ones cautiously enough. The best way to get the most needed price is to keep track of information. Requested work is second-rate and third-grade done, time lines are disregarded. They only cooperate with each other and hope that the spook will soon be over. Such prior experience can severely burden the cooperation between the internal and the external. The upper ones often do not have much thought about this.

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  1. Karoline Simonitsch

    very good article ... multi-class society - Exciting contributionqtzyOfY3I4

  2. Anne M. Schüller

    about the new multi-class company in the company - Exciting contributiondkRV6HJ3P6

  3. firm-job

    Team spirit & solidarity (3/3): Multi-class society in the company: The stronger a "we-here-group ... - Exciting contribution6r9Gw2m5mJ

  4. Thomas Eggert

    Team spirit & solidarity (3/3): Multi-class society in the BERUFEBILDER company - Exciting contributionzCZ6zOl8C1

  5. Competencepartner

    Team spirit & solidarity (3/3): Multi-class society in the company: The stronger a ... - Exciting contributionm1Xvg0XkI2 #Profile #Production

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