Monday, August 9, 2010

General Manager Blunders

The company that I work for traditionally does the highest volume of sales in June, July, and August. But the general manager decided to make some extreme staffing changes just before this period. There was a mass exodus, top sales people being fired, and a rash of promotions. The result has been an inept bunch of workers struggling to learn their jobs. Even if the replacements were skilled (I fear they are not skilled), they still have a steep learning curve to navigate. This dismal failure has necessitated cut-backs in employee hours. Each new roll out in cuts has decreased morale and increased frustration for client and employee respectively.

At our weekly employee meeting, my boss lady brought up the topic of client frustration and decreasing focus on customer service. Everyone seemed to agree that they could not return all of the phone calls they receive in a day, or address problems in a timely manner. Listening with some surprise, the General Manager thought it prudent to say something in defense of this accusation. "Well, that is because we are short-staffed with all of the cut-backs." I couldn't help blurting out, "Yes! That is exactly the reason for the frustration!" He didn't seem to acknowledge my assertion, but I hope it will hit him later.

He just doesn't understand that hurting employees is hurting his business.

I once worked with a crisis consultant. Before his arrival, the Board of Directors had cut employee hours and immediately stopped paying out wages. They informed the staff of the nature of our crisis (embezzlement & debt) and begged everyone to continue to work without pay. They intended to pour every penny into catching up on utility bills and other debts. When the crisis consultant arrived, he told them that was the absolute worst move they could have made, since it destroys employee confidence which destroys employee morale, which destroys production, which destroys your business. At his advice, they took out a loan to pay employees all back wages earned, gave key persons raises, and increased every one's hours. After all, if you don't have employees, what need do you have of lights?

Sadly, after a couple of weeks, the Board of Directors appointed an Interim CEO who dismissed the consultant, thinking better of his own business sense. In just over a year, he ruined the business.

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