The other day, I was doing something on LinkedIn, when I noticed a post title that somehow made its way into my feed: “Why Don’t My Employees Work Harder?” I clicked through out of curiosity and found that this was a corporate Dear Abby sort of thing. A CEO identifying herself as “Victoria” submitted the following as a question to Liz Ryan, who serves as Abby.
I know that leadership is all about trust and I do trust my employees, but I wish they would show a little more effort. They come in on time and they get their work done and that’s it.
I leave my office around 6:15 p.m. most nights and I don’t think that’s an especially long workday. But the parking lot is nearly empty every night when I leave. Why am I always one of the last half-dozen people out the door?
When I started this company six years ago there was a lot more team spirit. Now I have to come up with incentives to get people to put in extra effort.
I haven’t threatened anyone or threatened to cut the bottom ten percent of the team or any of that but I did tell my managers that I want them to incorporate not only output but also effort into their performance review rankings.
I want to reward the people who work the hardest here and make it clear that anyone who wants a ‘dial-it-in’ type job is not a good fit. I don’t think a growing, $10M company should be a place where people work from nine to five and then go home. What do you advise?
I tweeted my gut reaction to this off the cuff, and it got a lot of traction for a random tweet on a holiday morning.
“Why should I have to incent my lazy employees to work overtime when they should just want to do it for free?” https://t.co/IISkDPQytC
— Erik Dietrich (@daedtech) November 27, 2015
I then read through Liz’s response, which was patient, well-reasoned, and it brought up something called “weenie management,” so that alone is sort of oddly awesome. It also pretty resoundingly dressed Victoria down, which, I think was warranted. And yet, in spite of expressing my disgust on twitter and seeing a somewhat satisfactory response to Victoria, I still felt sort of bleak and depressed about the whole thing. I stewed on it further and realized what my response would have been, had I been Liz. Read More