I once worked at small start-up company during the dot-com heyday whose basic implicit recruiting pitch was, “Join us! You’ll make a lot of money when we go public!” And join employees did, and make a lot of money they did, as well. That is, until the stock dropped and all the money they made went away and the employees soon followed suit.
The CEO began complaining to his executive team about the lack of cars in the parking lot before 9:00 a.m. or after 5:00 p.m. He also felt the low energy in the office and the lack of excitement within the company. He was concerned that people had become disengaged from the company and no longer cared about the product.
He was, of course, absolutely right. Employees weren’t engaged and they did no longer care. The job had become just that: a job. No more, no less. Very few people were putting in the discretionary effort that is so prized by companies and which can truly make or break an organization.