DON'T TREAT EMPLOYEES LIKE
By Bruce L. Katcher, Ph.D. President, Discovery Surveys, Inc.
Half of all employees believe
management does not treat employees with respect or dignity.
Part 1 - THE PROBLEM:
I have a friend who works in the back office of a large health
care organization. She works with about 25 other college-educated employees who
are responsible for processing medical records. Here are three memos she
recently received from management:
"Just a reminder to take care of all
personal matters before you punch in. This includes personal hygiene, morning
beverages or food, or any other personal task that is not directly work
related. You should not be attending to any of these matters once you have
punched in to start your work day."
"I RESPECTFULLY ASK THAT EACH OF YOU PAY
ATTENTION TO YOUR WORK AND IF YOU SHOULD HEAR SOMEONE ELSE'S PERSONAL BUSINESS,
THAT YOU IGNORE WHAT YOU HAVE HEARD."
"DRESS CODE - THE DRESS CODE IS FOR
EVERYONE TO FOLLOW
IF YOU ARE UNSURE WHETHER OR NOT YOUR OUTFIT MEETS THE
REQUIREMENTS, IT PROBABLY DOESN'T
WE ARE BUSINESS CASUAL
ONE PERSON CANNOT FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES, THEN EVERYONE WILL DRESS
(These are verbatim transcripts of the three memos including the
Are you as incensed about these correspondences as I am? Memos
like these are downright insulting and degrading to employees.
Part 2 - WHAT CAN BE DONE:
- Treat Employees as Individuals
Don't send blanket emails
and threats to all employees. Even in organizations where a high level of
teamwork is important, employees must be managed individually.
- Apply Discipline to
Individuals Not Teams
If there is a problem
with an employee's conduct, dress, or use of company time, talk to that person
individually. Use the organization's performance management and discipline
processes. That's what they're for.
- Recognize that
Employees Have Lives Outside of Work
There is no excuse for
blatantly abusing company time. But is receiving a periodic call from a spouse
or child really so terrible? Is checking in with a childcare provider cheating
your employer? I don't think so.
- Treat Employees as
Eating a two-hour full
course meal during work hours is probably inappropriate, but is sipping coffee
or soda at your desk a violation of company time? Again, I don't think so.
- Remember the Golden
Give employees the same
level of respect and dignity that you would want to be shown yourself.
I am very much
interested in your views on this topic.
Please reply with your comments and
suggestions to .
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