“I know you work here, but who are you?”

That’s the message some people in executive and management positions send their employees. I’ve heard this many times, and here’s how it plays out.

New employees starting with a company are likely to receive a fair amount of attention through orientation and on-boarding. This attention wanes, however, the longer employees are on the job. From the employee’s perspective job descriptions fail to keep up with changes in job scope … top-down communications predominate while bottom-up feedback is not encouraged … staff meetings are considered a waste of time … and annual performance reviews become meaningless.

As a result of management and organizational complacency, employees feel invisible — a condition that leads to their disengaging on the job.

Here’s what several thought leaders say about this:

“When employees feel anonymous in the eyes of their managers, they simply cannot love their work, no matter how much money they make or how wonderful their jobs seem to be.”  Patrick Lencioni

“When people are perceived as a cost and not a resource, when they are treated as a liability and not an asset, when no one seems to know or care that they are there, they don’t work well, and they don’t stay.”  Dr. Judith M. Bardwick

“Don’t make your employees guess about whether they’re doing enough or fulfilling [the company’s] expectations … Make people feel like they are in the loop, and they’ll feel more engaged … ”  Alan E. Hall

“Once you start treating employees as more than a job description, suddenly they go, ‘Oh, wow! Maybe I should bring my whole self to work today!'”  John Boiler

Shortsighted executives and managers who continue to ignore employees put their business in jeopardy because the customer experience is embedded in the employee experience.

If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, you might want to share a copy of this post with them — anonymously.

2 replies on ““I know you work here, but who are you?””

Thanks for commenting, Yvonne. Indeed, people working together — knowing what needs to be accomplished, why it’s important, what’s expected of them, and with access to the proper tools — is ideal. The reality is some organizations only work without a formal org chart because it’s so outdated! Even in the absence of a formal hierarchy, employees may still feel neglected and forgotten. (I’ve been in the workplace long enough to be cynical, yet continue to remain hopeful when I occasionally come across organizations where employees actually thrive.)

The culture is changing but back in the day the hierarchy was unbreakable. Those of us in the middle were not allowed to speak to those at the top. I only wonder what those at the ‘bottom’ thought of us, and the top-tier managers.
I never let that kind of culture hold me back, but it could be intimidating to some.
Today, so many places don’t have a management chart – it’s just people working together to get things done. And isn’t that how it should be?

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