We Have Re-Thought Our Employment Contract. Here's The Result.
Quick experiment: can you search your memory and go back to the last time you signed an employment contract? How did it feel? In order to get to that point, you had sent a letter, undergone two interviews and left dozens of other candidates trailing in your wake.
And to set your seal on that wonderful moment, you were permitted to put your scrawl on a little piece of paper: the contract. What did it contain? Can you still remember? Naturally something about money, and ‘no pinching our clients please’. But what else? And how important did you feel the content was anyway?
Signing the contract
Signing an employment contract is one of those moments in time when you look ahead to all the wonderful things you will do and experience. You feel the pride there is to be part of this team and these projects. And in most cases, the document that celebrates all this consists solely of legal language: ‘Watch out! If you break this rule then we will do this’, and ‘Watch out! Dutch law is applicable’. Isn’t that a bit weird?
Rethinking employment contracts
Well, we thought so. So that is why we have modified our employment contract. At FX, you now sign primarily for two things: what we can offer you and what we expect of you. This last point primarily relates to Our DNA: you make a commitment to your (fantastic) new colleagues. The document is completely legally valid and is much more about setting a seal on a very wonderful and exciting moment. So do we still need legal articles? Yup. 4 of them, in a readable font size, on the reverse. Where they belong. Because this leaves us room for an easy-to-read front page:
The left-hand side of the contract shows the working conditions (job title, contract duration, salary, pension, paid leave, travel expenses, etc.) and the right-hand side shows the values of the organization.
We are so happy about the invigorating effect this has! At FX, you sign for the team (Our DNA) and for great conditions. Everything else is minor details. We have progressed from ‘boring-but-necessary’ to a moment in time that you can linger over and savor.
We progressed from ‘boring-but-necessary’ to a moment in time that you can linger over and savor.
Something that is a much better fit with the personal and proud feelings that both an employee and an employer have on this occasion.
Credits: This employment contract would never have come about without the (enjoyable) sparring with Sjoerd Bakker (SB Leadership & Management), Daniël Maats (Bruggink & Van der Velden) and our FXers. Thank you all for your important contributions!
This guest blog is written by Peter Zijlstra and was originally published in Dutch on FXmedia. FX is a digital agency based in Utrecht working on the basis of freedom and trust.
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The idea of self-management tends to be received with both interest and cynicism. Amongst the varied reactions, there is one recurring doubt that I hear time and time again. That doubt is deep. That doubt, is trust.