Sunday, July 22, 2012

Do Your Employees Matter? Maybe Not


Recently, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution did an article on a survey done of employee satisfaction.  The writers of the article sounded a bit surprised when the survey results showed employee loyalty is no longer based on how much money they make, that employee loyalty has more to do with feeling like they mattered and that they were – let's say it together – acknowledged.

Cindy had been a long-time employee at her company, coming in, doing her job regularly, never complaining ... just a steady, good, faithful employee.  She felt ignored, but it never really bothered her because she did her job and got her paycheck with no hassle.  Her boss pretty much left her alone.  She had her friends at work.  She was content, until she had a problem with a new computer system was put in. 

The system downtime started, then kept going, always something different every day.  Her boss came by to ask why her work wasn't done and when she said it was because of the system downtime, the boss only said it didn't matter why, it was her responsibility to get the work done.  Another day with a different problem, so she tried to talk to someone in tech support.  No response.  She decided to go to her boss to have a heart-to-heart, as her frustration was growing, but her boss didn't have time to talk to her.

Then she got sick.  She decided part of her illness was because of the frustration at work, so she took the day off, which she had never done before – she had perfect attendance, despite an occasional cold or ache.  The second day, when no one called her to see how she was the first day, she decided she wouldn't call, just to see how long it went before someone called her.  After several days with no calls from either her work friends or her boss, she went shopping.  A week went by and she figured it was time to find another job.

She went back to work the following week, only to have no one acknowledge that she was even out.  She readied her resume and started sending it out.  She started taking longer lunches.  She was dissatisfied.  She found another job and put in her notice.

Cindy was surprised then when her boss was taken aback by her resignation.  Her boss said she was unaware there were any problems.  Her boss offered her more money, much more than the new company was offering.  She left anyway.

In talking to Cindy about what led her down this path, it backed up everything the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's article brought out.  It's not about the money.  Money is good, earning a livable wage is always better than not, no matter the job, but it's all about being made to feel human, being acknowledged whether there's a problem or not, being made to feel like you're part of the a team. 

If you're a boss, don't manage by exception – manage by teambuilding.  If you're a team member, even if your boss doesn't do it, take the bull by the horns and build a team for yourself.  You spend so much time at work, wouldn't it be better to build your own team, surround yourself with people you enjoy working with and enjoy working with you?  And forget about the bosses that don't believe in you, only believe in themselves.  They won't be bosses for long.