Showing posts with label corporation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label corporation. Show all posts

August 20, 2010

Work Harder, Not Smarter


Start with good people,
lay out the rules,
communicate with your employees, motivate them and reward them.
If you do all those things effectively,
you can't miss. 
— Lee Iacocca

Tweaked for clarity 3-26-2011.

Buona sera. I have an attitude with thunder and lightning heading your way.

You may have noticed that the title of this missive is the opposite of true intelligence. It constantly amazes me that so many companies seem to think that if their employees are not in a minor panic, sweating and frantic, that work is not getting done.

Brace yourselves, this is Bluntness Day: They are too cheap to supply their employees with the proper tools to get the job done. Remember my buddy Neil? He works for a cheapskate Fortune 100 company. They are certainly not in the "100 Best Places to Work" list, but they cannot determine the cause. Spurious surveys to make themselves feel good, with faked results and continually contemptuous workers are the result.

Neil still needs the job, so he won't let me name his workplace. If the details of their incompetence and cheapness got out, they would be bankrupt. Not that they don't deserve it, but there are good people in this huge company that have nowhere better that they can go.

"What's happening at El Cheapo Corp., Cowboy Bob?"

I'm glad you asked:
  • Instead of promoting people who know the job, they hire others. And then, the ones who wanted the promotion have to train their new supervisors.
  • Existing managers do not know the details of the jobs that they are managing. They make arbitrary demands ("More! More! More! Faster! Faster! Faster!") for quotas. Then, when the workload is exhausted with three hours left in the day, they look for volunteers to use vacation time to go home. Also, productivity reporting forms do not take into account things like software problems and system issues; since you didn't make your quota, so you suck.
  • Pretending to care about what the employees think, seeking their input, setting up a plan of operation — and then dropping it on the pavement like a wet turd.
  • Seeking credentialing with major agencies so they can say, "We're good. We're secure. Trust us with important information." Amazingly, they pass these audits. I suspect bribery. If the auditors knew what really went on, there would be disqualifications, fines and probably more multi-million-dollar lawsuits. That's OK, as long as they don't have to pay the workers that they rely on.
  • All kinds of talk and education about information security, and yet they still use Internet Explorer 6. Neil is embarrassed that some sites announce, "Your browser is too old and is unsupported. Please upgrade." Naturally, I'd like to see them use Firefox, but even IE8, the current model, is better than unsafe IE6. And yes, the Internet is very important to The Company.
  • Outdated, dinosaur patchwork software. Something I say say to my crew, give the employees the proper tools to do the job. And then I do it. These cafones do not properly equip their employees.
  • They do not know about people. Instead, people are a resource to be used up, or capital to be spent. Sure, there are rewards and benefits, but only to those who sell their souls to The Company. Personally, I work to live, I do not live to work. Neil's company demands the opposite.
  • After the Obama election, The Company promptly announced that there would be no raises due to "economic uncertainties". Then they rewarded a select few with raises anyway. Instead of token "cost of living" raises, they implemented "merit only" raises, and then would find every excuse in the book to avoid giving anything.
Listen up, people. I warned you back at the end of 2008 that companies have to be intelligent, and provide good customer service. Treat your employees well, and they'll give it back to you. Kick the ones in the keester that you depend on to make you get richer, and you'll be going down, capice?

February 18, 2009

More Cheapness and Incompetence

Today's thundering rant has some advice for business executives.

Uncle Bob has been hearing some unpleasant things from Neil and his friends. Too bad I can't get them to join my crew. It's dangerous and sometimes borderline legal, but my organization shows appreciation. Well, I do, anyway.

Neil's department at a huge Fortune 500 soulless company is run from ivory towers with incompetent stronzos. They have to process forms in a "timely manner", and the semi-sentient subhumanoids that run the show have made the situation worse by quadrupling the work load and not providing extra staff to cover the work. The amazing thing is that the upper managers have no concept of how the work is done! They just come up with schemes and make things worse. And yes, the people that actually do the work resent the meddling of the ivory tower managers.

Let me interject something that puzzles me here. How is it that his department resents having a manager that has no experience in the field, but is willing to vote someone into the highest office in the land who also has no experience in the field?

A friend of Neil is in a different department. She has worked for the company for thirteen years, and had a few years in her current position. A supervisory position opened up, and she applied for it. Her supervisor said that there was not anything else for her to learn about the position, yet he did not feel that she was ready for it! What a load of merda.

The fact is that this company is cheap and incompetent. They do not reward good work and do not promote from within. How stupid can you get? I sure don't want some college edjamakated clown with no practical experience telling me how to do my job. Does anyone? And how much sense does that make, anyway? Those situations always get worse.

Do you know why they do this? So they can pay less! If I was working there for $250,000 USD and wanted a promotion, but was turned down because some bright and shiny face got the job for half of what I'm worth, sure, they save money. But it's short-sighted. When you take the cheap way out, you pay more in the long run. There's training, mistakes from inexperience, more training, fines are paid, lawsuits happen (both of these apply to Neil and his pal's company) — if you take the cheapest way out, you often get bitten in the keester in the long run.

Do you know what a "resource" is? It's something that you take, use, bend, shape, squeeze dry, force fit, abuse and throw away when it's no good to you anymore. I hate the term "human resources", because it implies "using" people. The problem with having people working for you is that people have lives to lead, needs to be met, events in their lives. So, executives, deal with it. You can't change that fundamental fact of life.

And this is not the economy to get cheap in. Sure, be frugal when it's justified. But don't hurt the ones you depend on to get the job done. Work intelligently, instead. Or the job won't get done at all, and you'll really lose out. And get out of that ivory tower so you can see what the job entails. Then, maybe, you'll have a better idea of what you're demanding from people.

January 13, 2009

Cheapness Plus Incompetence Equals Disaster

Buona sera. I received some distressing news from Neil. (Yes, he's fine and the Bulletproof Bitch's influence is less pronounced in his life.) He works for a huge company that shall remain nameless for now. It's a "Fortune 500" company with international activities. They count their profits in the tens of millions of dollars each quarter of the year.

The distressing news? No raises this year. Neil's company sent out a memo announcing that not only would there be no raises ("economic uncertainties"), but employees should work harder and be happy. Stronzos! Who likes to work extra hard without appreciation? Everyone wonders how big the salaries are for the CEO and the Ivory Tower Management, and if those will be frozen as well. Not bloody likely.

Part of the problem is that this company has regulations to follow. So, they are in and out of court a great deal. If they are late or foul up somewhere, they have to pay fines. There seems to be a lawsuit of one kind or another happening constantly. The Attorney General is going after them again right now, too.

To me, their solutions are simple. First, hire enough people and trained them properly so they don't have so many grotzits going out the window. Second, stop being cheap by cutting corners. (This company wants the employees to build Rome with nothing more than two bricks and a turdball, and then wonders why it's in so much trouble.) With adequate staffing, adequate training and adequate provisions, they would be in far greater shape.

But add to this cheapness and incompetence the element of fear. After all, 2009 begins a new season in the White House with a nut case tax-n-spend Liberal. Democrats were so intent on punishing "the rich" for being "rich", that they did not care how it affected businesses. And businesses are expecting to pay higher taxes.

Yesterday, January 12, Rush Limbaugh said (my paraphrase) that things like this, including layoffs, are a pre-emptive strike. Although nothing has happened yet, B. Hussein Obama wil not be in power for a few days, companies are still hurting the people that they depend on for their financial success.

One of my contacts in the 00 Division has been laid off. Amazing! Nothing is sacred. I offered him my services and some words of wisdom that I hope will do him some good. But both of these situations are agonizing.

Sure, I guess we should all be happy that we have jobs at all. But for how long? Neil is polishing up his résumé and is ready to jump ship if an opportunity arises. He just has to be careful that he doesn't jump into something that will be sinking faster.

June 13, 2008

Life in Big Business

Buon giorno. I should have Neil write this because it's his story, but he's too busy trying to make money to pay the bills. As for me, I'm in a better mood because some money has come to me that I've been waiting a long time to have.

Neil works for a major American corporation. It's very big, and has international holdings. They complained that in their last quarter, they did not make as many tens of millions of dollars as they expected. Poor darlings! Neil says that this company is too big and too impersonal. I agree. The problem is, that's the way most of them get.

His company does not care about its employees. They make a pretense at benefits because they could not get anyone to work there if they did not offer them (and their health benefits are laughable; many employees rely on their spouses for health coverage). They cut out the overtime that many employees relied on to survive. Instead, they will have to learn the hard way that there is too much work, too little time to do it and it will lead to the company having to pay many large fines.

There are many irritations that show that this company does not care about the people that make it wealthy. An incident yesterday really set Neil off. One of his co-workers who has been there for over a decade was removed. (Well, they said "laid off". That's different from being terminated. Termination indicates that you are bad. A layoff is a nice way of saying, "Get lost, we don't need you anymore".) There were two others that were laid off, but they were in another office and he did not know them.

Now, this lady had been a good worker and learned many facets of the organization. So, she must have been making a halfway decent wage. When the company decided to do cutbacks, they not only eliminated the overtime, but eliminated jobs as well. She was caught in a "business decision".

Frankly, they've learned poorly from the Mafia (let's pretend that they really do exist). The half-assed ruthlessness of "nothing personal, it's only business" is coupled with incompetence. Organized crime does not accept incompetence. I've heard it said that the "business decision" and "nothing personal" line is crapola. When you lose your job, it's very personal. They're playing fast and loose with people's lives.

I detest the term, "Human Resources". What is a resource? Something that you use up, squeeze dry, throw away and find another. And now we have departments set up to officially drain you dry.

The cazzo bean counters in accounting don't care about the effects on people. They are only interested in making the fastest grotzits possible, and are unaware of long-term effects. Neil has already met people that are angry about the unjust removal of employees. They do not accept the "business decisions", and are less willing to work as hard because, frankly, hard work and loyalty are not rewarded. Well, sometimes they are, but it's just window dressing.

Businesses like this give Capitalism a bad name.

Let's end this comedy with an un-funny and actually somewhat touching moment from the end of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Mr. Shirley, the boss, suspended Christmas bonuses and did not tell anyone. Then he had to look the Griswolds in the eye. He said, "Sometimes things look good on paper, but lose their luster when you see how it affects real folks. I guess a healthy bottom line doesn't mean much, if to get it you have to hurt the ones you depend on. It's people that make the difference."

I'd like that carved into the concrete of every business.

There are successful businesses that are good to their employees, so it's not just a "business decision". These companies know the realities of having people work for them. Neil's company is a Fortune 500 business, but it's not in the top 100 "best companies to work for" lists.

Let me leave you with another quote: "If you give your employees your best, they'll give you their best." — Lee Iacocca

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