Michael Specht

A blog from Australia looking at technology, management, Human Resources (HR) and recruitment.

Fear != Happy Employees

March 4th, 2009 · 2 Comments · Engagement, Management ·



Following my post yesterday about Facebook I found a great post from Jim Benson about about how your approach to your employees directly impacts your success.

The family that owned the restaurant had two long time trusted employees who served as managers.  The family knew the restaurant was in good hands.  When the long term employees left, the family was worried.  Fast food restaurants hire young, minimum wage workers who often slack off or even steal from the register. 

The owners felt they needed to keep an eye on the restaurant.  So they installed cameras.

This created an environment of US vs THEM with employees just keeping busy so the owners did not call them up to find out what was going on.

So the employees found themselves filling full salts, cleaning clean floors and hiding directly underneath the cameras in the “blind spots” just to have a simple conversation.  They never wanted to appear “not busy.”

As a team, the employees only could rally around one thing – their hatred of the cameras.  They couldn’t talk to each other, learn about each other, or learn from each other.  They could all merely mindlessly perform the already-satisfied chore list.

One by one, the other employees all left.  None of them would ever become the new long-time and trusted employees because trust was never allowed to develop.

Not a way to run a successful organisation. Will the owners blame the young Gen Y workers not having the right work ethic or is there a deeper issue? Could it be that they never developed a trust relationship with their employees? Did they engage with them? Just because your employee’s look busy does not mean they are actually productive, and servicing your customers.

 

 

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2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Marie Adams // Mar 5, 2009 at 8:58 am

    It’s unfortunate that the employees left the restaurant, but I hope the owners learned their lesson. On a much bigger scale, you could almost compare this to what just happened with Facebook. Employers and policy makers should discuss problems with their employees before taking any drastic, unannounced actions. Without running it by your employees, you’re going to have a negative reaction. Great post!

  • 2 Ethan Bull // Mar 31, 2009 at 5:57 am

    Nice post… this is a tough situation. Gen Y workers do have a reputation of not having a good work ethic but I think installing cameras for the sake of watching them is the wrong way to go about it. You want to empower the employees to make sure that all of their work is done and done to a level that you would approve. Setting a system up like this is just another reason for them to try and ‘game’ the system, not improve their productivity. As technology becomes smaller and those oweners are able to watch the feed from their cell phone, the harder it is going to be to create solid boss/employee relationships unless the boss takes this kind of thing into consideration.