On Do Your Employees Really Matter To You?



Rhonda Knisley asked if your daily practices show that Your Employees Really Matter To You? (HRToolbox). It appears that managers seem to be immune to sanctions when it comes to "errors" or "mistakes" in some organizations. Common observation of employees is that too often managers are not held accountable for their actions, except in some circumstances when they do not play along with office politics. And I mean "office politics," which is often interpreted and communicated as "company policy" throughout a unit organization.

Of course, it is more than correct for a supervisor to stand for their managers in front of a crowd. As a supervisor, you support and correct, and some apologies might be in order in certain circumstances, along the way. But isn'it out of line to cover their mistakes in a permanent and consistent fashion, do their projects, close a blind eye on their repeated mishaps on the basis that they are new to the job or doing something (one or two things) right, rate them as well performing managers, and let alone blame employees for bringing up a sensitive issue? This attitude or approach is also explained or supported by "business needs" in many cases. If the manager delivers one wanted result that is going to contribute to his supervisor's results, there is the "bottom line". It is all about performance results. More precisely it is about specifically chosen performance results.

So, it does not matter that the manager is unfit to make a performance assessment of his/her team. ("On promotion criteria...http://hrcomatrix.blogspot.com/ ). It does not matter how it is going to affect his/her team members and their careers in the company, as long as projects and reports are submitted on time. It does not matter how he/she handles his/her team members as long as he/she delivers what is expected of him/her.

Does the company care about its employees? Of course, most of the time the company cares a great deal. All these HR-related projects are in place. Policies and procedures seem to be ideal. Employees DO count, per company communications. Does the manager care about the employees? In the cases above, no. They are just resources, not really handled as Human Resources, but as tools. Does the company know about it? In a company where upward communication is filtered in a way or another, which is naturally the case of most large organizations, the boss (local unit most of the time) will prevail.

Occasionally, one voice will be heard. But the boss and HR document situations based on what is reported to them, or based on the results of their investigations. Another issue if the interpretation of investigations... And yes, per most approaches, HR is not there to protect the employees but the company. The manager will be subject to coaching and mentoring. Employees as well as managers who refuse to play office politics will be subject to progressive discipline. Double standard? Yes. Far from the truth? Unfortunately debatable. 


Policies and procedures can be ideal. But they can backfire if they are not interpreted and handled the way it has been designed for. As we say, garbage in, garbage out. So, bottom line, is the underline issue lack of training or inadequate hiring?  Or simply and sadly lack of ethics? Or maybe somebody has reached his/her Peter's principle?
In any event, a look at lack of engagement, employee morale, and retention rate is a good and quasi reliable indicator of the issue "do employees really matter?" in a setting or an organization.

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