Exit stage left and poof problem gone. 

As far as I can remember, company leadership and owners have been typically applying band aid solutions to problems then ripping them off before the infection can heal – kidding themselves that they care about the very people they employ to serve, produce, and create to increase profitability. In turn, do most employees feel valued and supported, I think not.

My intent in addressing this, as I always do, is to shed light on the unresolved frustrations and seemingly disinterest to meet employee needs. I note this as time and time again employees fear dismissal when bringing up any wrongdoing or mistreatment in the workplace. Policies and procedures are put in place for the purpose of protecting the company when, for example, an employee decides to act on a wrongful dismissal, and yet often this entire experience could be avoided. 

Even worse, the employee leaves in silence having put up with their unhappiness for far too long only to have or not have an exit interview because who are we kidding, employers really don’t want to learn from or improve upon how things are run. They’ll hire someone else and go through the process all over again. A costly exercise none the less that could have easily been avoided.

You would be incorrect in your assumptions to think that I’m that disgruntled employee, although I have had my fair share of horrible work experiences. Throughout my career it has been my mission, moreover my responsibility to identify and magnify the mistreatment and poor leadership that comes from companies that are misaligned in the relationships that they have with their people.

One glaring example of this sad situation that I recently became aware of is a company I’ll call XYZ. A family run business. The family work (and stay) in the front office while their employees are in the back being misled and bullied by an institutionalized supervisor that has been working there for 57 years. In fact, the only place he’s ever worked. He can be found saying to his employees on several occasions, when I finally retire, the place will go to sh*t. I wonder what his employers would think of this declaration. And yet, he’s not that foolish to utter those words because why on earth would he think that his employers would find any comfort in hearing those sentiments.

And ….

There lies the problem. Rather than step up and be the leader that he needs to be, or for that matter why his employers haven’t given him additional leadership tools to progress responsibly in his role, his ego continues to say, you can’t live without me when I do eventually leave. Imagine if he ever considered a succession plan, and if he did, he’d be misguiding his successor with horrible and dangerous habits i.e not keeping any records of process, or safety measures, or blueprints of the 30 different plans in which they need to work from, rather choosing to bark rather than communicate orders. Because after all he loves when his staff ask him how to do something so he can then berate them. And he does.

Particularly with their 2 new hires. You see he was doing quite well yelling and screaming at his employees because they’ve been there for 15+ years putting up with his abuse. By now they are numb to it. And yet one of the new hires is an expert and seasoned professional that has expressed ways to make things much better and easier (for that matter) only to be told to shut up and do your work and this is the way things have been done for 57 years. Yep, people still say things like that. 

And where on earth are the owners? Only to be unseen in the front office. Much to the detriment of the business I might add as it’s been clearly pointed out and falling on deaf ears that safety measures have not been adequately put in place and they could run into real violations and serious fines. The new hires are baffled and upset as to why their employer wants to risk the health and safety of their people, and risk their business being shut down. It’s bewildering. Well, nothings ever happened before is the response from the supervisor when asked why certain safety measures haven’t been updated. 

Even though the 2 new hires stand up for themselves every single day, they find it exhausting to hear constant negativity and ego-driven nonsense. The sad part is if they took their grievances to the front office they would most likely get fired, choosing to support their long-term supervisor, or worse, stay knowing that their supervisor would make things much worse for them.

Could they go elsewhere? yes, of course, but why, only to have the same thing repeated? Because this lack of communication and neanderthal thinking runs rampant.

Despite this, and my anger (yes anger) toward hearing of this mistreatment, I do believe in people when they are kind, ethical, and understand how to treat others with dignity and compassion. But while there are companies still out there that make life lousy for others I need to speak out. It is not okay. 

This has a direct correlation to the mental and emotional wellbeing of people. Today, after years of living with a pandemic, isolation, and uncertain times, not to mention people like Elon Musk who are firing those left and right only to hire and/or keep those who agree to be slaves to his business, more needs to be done.

Yes, everyone has a choice as to whether they want to say something, or be miserable, or move on, and yet when is it ever ok for anyone in leadership roles to mistreat and bully others? It should never be business as usual. 

What do employees need and want? Research shows that autonomy, mastery and belonging are top of mind. So would it kill employers to stop talking about how great their companies are, and how much they care about their employees and deliver on what they say is important. 

In fact, do they have any idea how ridiculous it looks when they post for senior positions, or any position for that matter and it shows a 1.7 company review out of 5 score? Wouldn’t you think they’d care to boost ratings and figure out why their scores are so low? Yes, there could be many reasons, and yet at this point I don’t care.

Potential candidates are cautiously optimistic at best when they decide to throw their hat into the ring when applying for roles, and if offered a position are hopeful (more like praying) when onboarding that the company introduction matches the gloss and sprinkles, they’re spewing about the culture. In fact, that 90-day probationary period (which I can’t believe is still used) should be the time where an employee evaluates the company and its leadership to ensure the experience meets their expectation. And if it’s all smoke and mirrors then the employer is obligated to compensate the employee for pain and suffering and the time it’ll take to look for yet that one company that deserves the talent, time, and people they employ. 

Is it that too farfetched? 

Finally, I could have taken the approach to frame this by taking a solution-finding position, and typically I do – yet there are thousands of suggestions, recommendations, solutions that companies can easily adopt. Happily, I have been able to implement effective solutions for positive change. However, for the purposes of this post, I am expressing and finding it necessary to share the reality of what’s happening in the workplace by those who are experiencing unacceptable conditions today.

Exit stage left and poof problem gone. 

Exit stage left and poof problem gone. 

Poof. Reality.

Poof. Reality.

Exit stage left and poof problem gone.