December 11, 2008

Disgruntled employees=bad management

I’ve spoken time and again about LISTENING to your staff. CARING about what they say and ACTING on it. Working for a company that didn’t listen (but boasted constantly about how much they did) is how I got into staff surveying in the first place. It is UNBELIEVEABLY frustrating working in a place where your voice has absolutely zero significance, yet management bleat on and on about how much it does. Talk about out of touch with reality!

One employee did something about it. Ex-Virgin Blue employee Torsten Koerting designed a board game using Virgin Blue branding that criticises his former company's decision-making process. It is a modified version of "Snakes and Ladders" and was attached to a farewell email to his colleagues. That turned out to be just the beginning as the media found out about it (I read about it here) and boy did they love it! It seems Torsten isn’t the only disgruntled employee – but he is the only one that has spoken up about it.

The question now is what is Virgin Blue going to do about it? Will they use it as an opportunity to have a frank discussion with staff and find a way to make sure that convo is constant? From the outside looking in, Virgin Blue in Aussie and Pacific Blue in New Zealand have always seemed to exude a fun, funky culture – perhaps that was so at the beginning but it has dwindled now? Maybe the fun times of being thrown in the river are over?

Virgin Blue is just the one of gazillions of businesses full of unhappy staff that are sick of not being heard. 2008 and STILL companies haven’t got this right. What’s worse is that it is not expensive, difficult or time consuming to fix. All you need is a CEO that actually cares, not just says they do. It might however be scary for some. If the thought of listening to your staff scares the heck out of you then (sorry but) HAHA! It means you’ve been so lazy with listening for so long that things have really gone to the dogs. You really deserve the scariness.

If you want to figure out if your company is at risk of being thrown around the worlds media and blogosphere because one of your workers has hit the headlines, ask 10 random staff members “What is it about this company that frustrates the crap out of you?” If they can rattle off 5 things without so much as taking a breath you are in trouble so sit down, shut your gob and turn your ears on! Ignorance is NOT bliss!


Torsten J. said...

Hi Allison,

interesting thoughts.
As I already mentioned in my long story on my blog about what has happened
the situations that made it onto the action cards in the game and the mail that has been leaked to the press have been slightly misinterpreted by the press.
They are referring to situations we have faced during a project that was focusing and providing all relevant information to make a very important decision for the Airline.
Neither was I disgruntled nor did these situations represent the decision making process within the company.
We had great fun in the process and as part of the project therefore the idea of a game was born (wanted to do something like this for years.
As you always face situations in projects that let you move forward more quickly than you expected or less quickly.
Thx for your comments and reflecting on that game in your great blog.


Allison O'Neill said...

Hi Torsten,
Thanks for clearing that up. Even though the press have misinterpreted some things I think the story is great as it highlights some things companies need to be better at managing.