Wednesday, 4 November 2015

My Employer Experience, & What I See - November 4, 2015

In the technological oriented and fast-paced atmosphere we have going on in the work force, it is hard to keep track of everything the employers are attempting to do to try and stay ahead and keep things fresh.  Change is a good way to keep things interesting, even make things better; and it’s a great feeling when it works out. However, there are costs that come with that if there is not enough planning and foresight to see if those changes will genuinely be an asset to the business.

I may never be an owner, manager, CEO, director etc but I know from being an employee for so long and be an over-reflective, observant, realistic human being I have been lucky enough to have a couple of really good employers who taught me so much and I am eternally grateful to them.  The rest… well… let’s say you learn the good where you can, and live with deciding how I didn’t want to be toward coworkers and the people I served; wherever I was working at.

I will sum up to you my employers and why when I go to interviews I am equally interviewing the next boss as much as they are me.

I had one employer that craved success but at the cost of stepping on other people in the community I once lived at. They took things so far that when that sort of behaviour caught up to them they had to move somewhere else and hope for the best.

Another was a thief. 

The next committed fraud and was arrested (it was sad for their children).

In another area there were two bosses who hated each other that their drama and tensions between them caused issues for the rest of us in their heated competition with one another. 

Then another (who taught me so much) started off with one employer that overtime became four.  In this place, it started off wondrous with a very high bar that slowly went downhill overtime along with the sudden urgency to keep things new and fresh but at a cost to the positive, very happy atmosphere. 

My two favourite bosses were no-nonsense ladies with high expectations and actually wrote down our feedback and implemented changes where there seemed to be more than one staff member or customer concerned/requested the changes. If it worked, HURRAY! If it didn’t go, try the other possible options.  If none worked, we went back to the old way.

Here is what I have learned from my work experiences, and I pray that if any employer and employees read this they take away some things that may help them (just maybe):

Don’t lie. Be honest, and be accountable. Know where to put the blame (especially if it is you who did something wrong, we’re all human).  And, lead by example in that everyone is human and falls short, and then show what you can learn from that experience and change for the better as a kind lesson for everyone.  As someone who has been in a handful of supervisory positions I have found being kind, honest, and reflecting back to staff on my own past mistakes helps; and, sharing with them what I learned and where changing things up worked for me and what options may work for them.

Don’t be a thief.  Don’t let someone else be the fall-guy and be burdened with your mistake.

If you have an addiction or substance problem get help for it, and if you are someone who notices someone who has this issue get help for them, because every human needs care, supports, and deserves to get it in order to live a long, healthy life.

If there is a problem, then make plans to change things and try them out, but if nothing is wrong don’t break what doesn’t need fixing because I have seen trying “something new” (for whatever reason) often doesn’t work when things were going great as they were, and, often everyone ends up going back to the old way anyway.

Listen. Really listen. Take notes from staff (even each other as coworkers) and the clients/customers and see where changes need to be made and make plans for that change.  Take time to dwell on how well it could be effective before implementing. And it doesn’t hurt to consider more than one option and compare. Even when the plan is implemented give it some time.  In this, everyone listen to one another for the feedback as where the changes/plans were effective and where it was not.

Adding to the last note: don’t expect immediate results.  Starting off well does not mean that’s a sign that you stop looking holes, holes as in where this could be a ‘not-so-good-idea,” in the end.  Give it time, sometimes the bad shows up and it turns out this was not a good change.  Make the time frame reasonable as well, just as you would if you are training someone; everyone must be realistic and observe the results first.  I have seen lists, check lists, a plans of action, training packages to go through etc that were all implemented, but, there were issues in the end... one being the issue of time – even lack of patience involved with that -the other was giving people who were not suited to the job being given too much of the benefit of the doubt.  I saw all these situations occur with the same employer when it came to training staff.  To me, it seemed they did this in one instance due to desperation to fill the void with any sort of staff they could get, and the other because a bit of favortism arose due to a certain aspect/character of a staff member that they were attracted to (this was often due to a feeling of them being similar on a personal level in some way)

Patience in changes and considering feedback should be seen through. When the plans or changes that were underway stayed as a permanent fixture suddenly, in my experiences, it was because a) it started off on a high note and therefore there was a total neglect in feedback and nor anymore waiting to see if it would work in the long haul b) it suited solely to the employers. Then it affected the rest of the work sphere in a negative light and hindered progress for others.

An additional note to feedback… Don’t ask for feedback of others when it’s not even going to be considered at all.  It’s better if it is not at all as it can hurt morale; I have seen this one happen a lot.  I know bosses have others who make them accountable and will come in and check their records, inspect and investigate things right down to the paperwork and digital records. One of the biggest things is looking for staff feedback or that it is even being taken into consideration.  It’s a good idea to have that communication amongst staff and between them and the boss.  Problem with that, in my experience… often employers can ask for feedback but does not mean yours or anyone else’s is necessarily considered, even if it got written down somewhere.  We know that they need to, but it is not great for staff morale when people catch on that they are asked for feedback, but know that none of it is actually even taken into consideration. Worse is when you realize it ends up the employer was looking for the answer they already had in mind themselves.  It’s the same as when they come to you with the question of what you think/give you more than one option on something… when you tell them the option you think is the better and why they suddenly argue with you on that option, even though they offered it.  There again, looking for you to answer with the one they really wanted you to say, but all for the sake of making it look like they really value what you think.  Adding onto that when you tell them why the option you thought of (or an option the boss had not thought up) would be better suited, they choose a different one, only to have an hour or two past and they went with your option anyway realizing the others were not going to work at all.

When using emails as an easier means to communicate EVERYTHING at work and save on meetings (thus time and money) keep it short and to the point and if anyone has issues allow them to have one-on-one time to work it out. And don’t send it out so many emails. And if emails don’t work, maybe scratch emails off the list of effective communication.  I had one employer who could send you what appeared to be 3-5 essay-like emails in a day (in one case almost every single day one week) on things they expected or issues that were arising…. I can tell you this, only myself and one other employee read all those, understood those, and applied those expectations.  Everyone else behind the scenes voiced they rarely read the emails, didn’t know why there was so many of them, and it was hard to read the emails because they were so long and staff wondered when were they going to have to time to go through it when there was so many other things required of staff in a day.  I suspect this often happens in many work places where these sorts of emails happen regularly: no one has time to read all of them, it feels overwhelming, it feels like someone is constantly badgering them, and that the employer is micromanaging, and - as a few fellow employees once said - possibly enjoying the sound of their own voice in print on a screen.  One coworker suggested that the employer start their own blog as that’s the feeling the emails gave off in the way they were written.  That suggestion makes me laugh as I write for my own blog.  I can see how it saves time, money, meetings and scheduling and planning everyone’s personal lives around those, I do.  But what if it’s not effective?... Does the emailing continue?...

There! That’s my thoughts on the matter! Have a good day everyone!

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