I went into an office a few days ago. The reception area was very obviously under major renovations, with carpets taken up, desks removed and sparse walls. I tentatively rang the bell unsure if it was actually open for business and was surprised to be greeted by a very helpful customer service person. To break the ice I light-heartedly stated that I thought they may not be open for business and was told that they were indeed having work done and it sparked a brief but insightful conversation.
I found out that staff were being moved around, work had begun and telephones and computers had been unplugged and removed which was causing no end of problems for the day to day operational aspect of the business. They even had to locate a phone from another area so that they could liaise with customers! Seemingly no thought had gone into how the reception staff work would continue during the refurbishment. As you can imagine it made for a very disgruntled employee who felt undervalued and a little embarrassed about their situation.
I can hear many business people out there outraged by the fact that she was complaining to a customer in the first place, however the impression I got was of an experienced employee who was at the end of their tether.
In the work I do at Secret2media assisting businesses with their operations I see situations like this more often than you can imagine. The staff who are doing the work, are often not consulted. This then causes unforeseen problems for the management that could have been avoided. Management can sometimes think that staff shouldn’t be consulted in operational matters because they won’t see the bigger picture and that they’ll be happy anyway once the work has been done.
Remember it is often the case that staff will know what is required for a department to fully function on a daily basis. They know what definitely needs to be left in the office and what they can do without. Yes their manager will ultimately make the decision, however to retain good quality staff, you must allow them to have some input into your business, whether that be making a suggestion or airing a grievance. Goodness knows finding experienced, productive and loyal staff is difficult enough but keeping them takes just as much effort.