Leaders Living In A Bubble

bubbleIf you are working for a company that has a lot of problems, you may begin to wonder how senior management can stand by and not do anything.  Although it happens, it is rare that management will do nothing if they know what is going on around them.  But what on earth could prevent them from knowing?

Many leaders live in a protected bubble.  Not a real plastic bubble type environment, but due to everyone shielding them from reality they are simply not aware.  Good excuse, right?  Everyone is protecting me from the truth, so it is not my fault I am living in a bubble!  I disagree with this lame excuse.

It is possible that the weekly or monthly updates from departments in your company are hiding information, but you are still required to know what is going on and take appropriate action.  Especially when there are external sources that can be accessed to obtain information.

For companies that deal with the public, take a stroll through the comments on Yelp.com and see if the client feedback lines up with reality.  Are there service issues that need to be addressed, quality control, or employees that are damaging your brand?  At the same time, what are clients saying publicly about what they like about your company, product and employees?

While every CEO in America has a vision and mission for a company, they often are under the impression that the work culture is also like what is written on the wall posters.  A regular check into an employee feedback website called Glassdoor.com will give the CEO a look at both the good and the bad.  I know of many Human Resource Managers that check Glassdoor weekly to make sure they are ahead of the issues.

But what if you are a leader that depends on your direct reports telling you the truth, but they are not telling you the things that are not pleasing?  If you fail to research yourself, than who is actually choosing to live in a bubble?

This week I reached out to a CEO with a letter of concern, and four pages of Glassdoor comments in the past 3 months.  If I was the CEO, I would be upset to say the least at what is happening at this company.  Yet I would also want to know why none of my direct reports have said anything.  It takes an external consultant to enlighten me, and only because they want to help me turn things around.  The people I am paying to keep things in order have failed to alert me, but a stranger is telling me the cold hard truth.

If this CEO answers me I know that he has been living in a bubble.  If I don’t hear back, and nothing changes, then I know he put himself in that bubble on purpose.

Stay tuned………………..

Why Are Employees Leaving?

employee leaving  Asked why their employees are leaving, one HR Director recently said to me, “who cares, I can replace them in no time at all.”  While it is easy to replace a warm body because of our current economy, one must ask why the existing talent left in the first place.

This particular company is known for its hostile work environment.  The CEO is close to being a tyrant, and anyone that disagrees with him is either asked to leave, terminated or leaves on their own terms.  And because he is also Chairman of the Board, the Board of Directors won’t be terminating him anytime soon either.

If there is a silver lining, it is in an environment called Glassdoor.com where employees are spelling out the real working environment in rich details.  I have a couple of companies that I visit Glassdoor at least once a month to read the latest feedback.  Now while one of these companies (a close second to my example above) regularly pays employees for positive feedback on Glassdoor to offset the negative feedback, they still can’t hide the facts.  New applicants should always check out this environment before accepting any job offer, and I would suggest they do this before the first interview.

So we have a company that hires people, provides a salary and benefits along with a hostile work environment, and then doesn’t give a damn when an employee quits because they can always find another warm body that needs a paycheck.  This is such a sad state of affairs, and it is made worse by a complacent HR Director that ought to be drummed out of the industry for such wanted disregard of the employee population.

Now while this company can be turned around with a new CEO and subsequent change in corporate culture, my focus today is on knowing why any employee would resign from your company.  Maybe they got an awesome opportunity that is not available at your company, or a sizeable bump in salary that you are unable to match.  These are good reasons for the resignation, and worth collecting the data.

But if you are lacking in areas like employee development, benefits, or you have a loose cannon manager driving away talent, you should be trying to change things to retain people.  Retention is always better than Recruitment yet for some HR functions, they would rather look indispensable because of all their openings that need to be filled.

When employees leave your company, is there an effort to discover why?


Seeking Any New Opportunity

th7N2PIEAX  Within professional social media environments like LinkedIn, you will note rather quickly the many people that have changed their taglines to something like “Seeking New Opportunity in (insert chosen field)” and we all know this is code for losing your job and now you need another one.

There is a lot of sympathy in the job search market for people that find themselves out of work.  It could be they have been laid off, terminated or resigned, but they are now in need of a job, so everyone they know helps them look for work, right?

I’ve been consulting for the past 10 years and would really like to return to a corporate role where I can leave more than a few fingerprints on a project.  And yet, I am considered employed and not as needy as my counterparts that are “out of work.”  This means there is  lack of sympathy for my plight, over the person who is now on unemployment.

Now while I have expanded my job search beyond my chosen profession, I still can’t quite bring myself to change my tagline to what I am really open to which is, “Seeking ANY New Opportunity” because it smacks of desperation.  It remains to be seen how much longer this search for a job will go on before I reach the end of my rope.

A dear friend was kind enough to point out to me that I have little going for me.  (Bless her heart)  She noted that I am in my middle 50’s which spells out a lot of work experience, but usually experience means expensive!  I am a white male, so I offer no incentive to an employer from a race or gender position and I wasn’t able to serve in the military.  (Which by the way I never mind getting in line behind these people, ever!)

My friend then in her humorous way, pointed out that I am a very ethical person, hard working and productive.  I walk my talk, and I practice Servant Leadership as a management style.  I said, these are all good attributes, to which she responded, “only to those that share your beliefs.”

So I am starting to believe that maybe it is time to get desperate and change the old tagline.  I love to cook, maybe there is an opportunity out there I am missing!

As for friends and associates that help unemployed people find work, not enough people think about how beneficial that would be to those of us looking.  Your help would be very much appreciated, at least I know for sure that I would appreciate you!