If a major corporation follows a well-known bad management practice, should we conclude that they are behaving deliberately?
A friend has been working for a major corporation for twenty years. Recently the company was taken over. The old company had probably the most efficient and effective customer service operations in the industry. People developed personal relationships with clients and were able to provide good service based on their knowledge of their clients and their ability to quickly retrieve information. Employees felt a lot of job satisfaction from providing good service to clients.
The acquiring company threw out the automated information system, and replaced it with a manual system that involved reading scanned documents that were not well documented. In addition, they created pools of customer service reps who, instead of being responsible for two hundred clients they could get to know, were now collectively responsible for fifteen hundred clients that they could not possibly know.
As a result, customer service now take a lot longer because each rep has to research the client from the ground up, and it takes much longer to find the records they need. In addition, they never know what happens to the client because the next time the client contacts the company, it is likely that someone else will handle the issue.
My friend says there are numerous sources of dissatisfaction in the new job. Since you never know whether you’ve helped someone or not, there is almost no job satisfaction. It seems like the company’s priority is to just pump customer service requests out the door, by making sure someone is always available.
The lack of good records means that highly paid employees are doing work such as copying and filing. The company also has a lot of rules that they adhere to very closely, no matter what the situation, leading employees to feel mistrusted and ill used. The company sacrifices quality and employee satisfaction and employee control over their work. Employees have become cogs in a machine. If someone quits, there is no upheaval because the rest of the team takes over.
Finally, the company has been piling on more and more work, so that if you want to do a good job, you have to work about 12 hours a day. The only way to do that work in 8 hours is to cut a lot of corners.
It has been well known for over a quarter of a century that one important way to motivate workers and help them feel good about their work is to give them control over what they do and how they do it. Lack of control was one reason why assembly line jobs were so bad and why some auto companies learned to transfer more power to the workers by allowing them to do many different jobs on the line. Every employee on those lines had the power to pull the cord to stop the line if a car was defective.
Do you think my friend’s company is deliberately ignoring best practices and taking away the power of employees and turning things into an assembly line situation? If so, why? If not, how could a major company not know best practices that have been documented for many years?
If you worked for such a company, would you have any loyalty to it? Would you still want to do the best job you could? What would you do, knowing that your income was the only source of income for the family?
This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.