Workplace promises may be nice, but employees now want to be shown the money

Promises organizations make to employees matter in establishing and maintaining a “psychological contract,” but in an era of massive layoffs, rescinded benefits and wage freezes or cuts, pledges don't matter - actions do.

"Basically, it’s 'show me the money,' give me developmental opportunities, and provide me with support," said Samantha Montes, professor at the Rotman School of Management and the University of Toronto Scarborough, and co-author of the study, to be published in the Journal of Applied Psychology. "What this means is that organizations should focus more on delivering valuable benefits and opportunities to employees, rather than investing time, effort, and resources into making promises that these benefits will be delivered."

It's nice to validate commonly held beliefs, but given the way many employer-employee relationships have devolved in the past 30 years, is this a surprise to anyone? In this new "Cold War" - the one that's erupted in many work places - isn't the old "Cold War" adage, "Trust, but verify," the standard even the most trusting employee lives by?