A year ago I worked for a company who will remain nameless. It was the type of job that made me want to drive off a cliff every morning on my way to work. It was a job I felt trapped in and unmotivated by. It was the kind of job where I felt exploited and unheard. In this stale economy some of us have to take what we can get – at least that’s what we’re told. With millions still out of work and more millions giving up, it’s no wonder big companies are making out. As with any opportunity, corporations have used the weak job market as an excuse to treat their workers like dirt. That’s why it warms the cockles of my dark heart to see workers all over the country begin to unite.
It’s also nice to see Walmart having a really bad day. Between the black Friday protests and a fire at one of Walmart’s factories in Bangladesh, shit seems to be hitting the fan. Tazreen Fashions who also produces clothing for Disney and Sears had three of its supervisors arrested for allegedly locking the gates to its factory during the fire and trapping it’s workers inside. 112 people were killed.
Today fast food workers in New York City took it to the streets demanding higher wages and the right to form a union. The campaign, called “Fast Food Forward,” seeks to roughly double hourly pay to $15 an hour and is being billed as the largest attempt to unionize U.S. fast-food workers. Leading the effort is New York Communities for Change, a group that has helped unionize low-wage carwash and grocery workers in New York. Strikes were scheduled at McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, KFC, Pizza Hut and Domino’s restaurants around the city throughout the day.
The worker’s cup of had-enough runneth over. I’ve worked for nice people and I’ve worked for assholes. I’ll tell you, the nice people make me want to work harder and make more money for their company than the assholes who treat me like the “help.” Anyone who believe they are greater than others because they’re holding the manger card is sadly mistaken:
Employee engagement may seem like a frill in a downturn economy. But it can make a big difference in a company’s survival. In a 2010 study, James K. Harter and colleagues found that lower job satisfaction foreshadowed poorer bottom-line performance. Gallup estimates the cost of America’s disengagement crisis at a staggering $300 billion in lost productivity annually. When people don’t care about their jobs or their employers, they don’t show up consistently, they produce less, or their work quality suffers.
Upper management, the key to happy workers is not fear. It’s management from the inside out- not the outside in. I had the pleasure to work for a gentleman who owned 14 franchises in Connecticut. He had more money than goulash but you would never know. What he did know was all the ins and outs; comings and goings, sick Dads and new Moms of his organization. I used to watch him work a room and think to myself, that’s how I want to manage my business when I grow up. Listening to employees, not talking over them. Being open to being heard; not shutting people out. Caring not being cocky. Is this too much to ask for? Big companies with big egos need to get with the program. You can recycle all the workers you want – you can exploit, bully and destroy the lives of the people you live on – but eventually – and karmically – your business model is unsustainable. People are people not profit-mongers, they’re people. Protect them you increase your bottom-line. Bottom-line them and well: