November 3, 2008

Do your employees deserve milk?

There are plenty of workers around who think it’s a bit crap that their employers buy the cheapest coffee and tea possible for the staff room. It makes them feel cheap and unimportant. These feelings were even stronger at one workplace where there was special ‘managers coffee’. No I’m not lying, I wish I was! The managers were allowed to use this much nicer coffee while the workers could only gaze at it up on the shelf and dream.

As if this wasn’t enough ill feeling for the staff room of this workplace, then came the ‘milk episode’. In effort to save money, be assholes and show the workers who is really boss a sign was attached to the fridge that said “Milk is for tea and coffee only. Any use on cereals or for general drinking is forbidden”. Oh dear! So the workers who pay a fortune for an overpriced car park, that is still miles away from work, who leave home super early to get to it and then walk the extra 20 minutes to the office are no longer allowed to finally have their cereal for breakfast in the staff room upon arrival.

I love horrifying people with this story, because it demonstrates a workplace attitude that is so common. The words this story brings to my mind about these managers are mean, heartless and thick. That is not a ‘family’ based workplace. Where people are happy, comfortable and treated like humans. It is stern, cold, lonely and sad.

What topped this story off was the fact that this workplace was a newspaper. One of their columnists wrote a fantastic piece highlighting all of the above troubles. I’m thinking the only reason it made it into print was the managers were so busy policing the fridge, they didn’t have time to make sure word didn’t get out about how nasty they are! Something as simple as cheap and nasty coffee does affect morale. It is a message to your staff. Something as rude as ‘manager’s coffee’ is an even louder message to your staff. The bosses here were a cut above, and not part of the real team.What practices are in your workplace that are similar to ‘cheap and nasty’ or ‘manager’s coffee’? See that they don’t survive the week.

If you want to see what notes other workplaces have stuck up on noticeboards see this website

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