Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Why do your workers feel betrayed?

Why are American workers so upset with all the job loss? Not because it’s hard to pay their bills, not because they may loose their homes, not because they can’t afford to see a doctor – it’s because they are expected to pay ALL the costs of the economic down turn!

Most of us had little control over what the companies we worked for did. They built too much capacity without asking us what we thought of that decision. They made loans (that turned out to be questionable at best) with out asking us if it was a good deal. They supported legislation that made it cost effective to ship our jobs “off shore” and never gave us a chance to argue against that practice.

Then when those choices turn out to be very bad choices, we pay for the mistakes!

When those decision makers get fired they still get bonuses that are larger than most of is will make in a lifetime. Bonuses for making choices that cost us our jobs and damaged many American businesses to the point they are facing bankruptcy.

The vast majority of workers did their work with a commitment to making the best products and giving the best service, now decisions outside their control have left far too many without their old jobs and no place to find a new one. This, while the decision makers are getting paid well enough to retire at a much richer lifestyle than those average workers will attain IF they can find a new job.

A big part of the problem is that American managers have created an adversarial system between managers and workers. They did this by not understanding that without someone putting boxes on truck, the product never gets to the customer. Yes, yes, I know – freight dockworkers are easy to replace since a lot of people can do the work and training costs are low.

It all comes back to the decision makers’ confusion about value versus cost. Just because something is cheap, doesn’t mean it’s not valuable. One of the cheapest parts on your car is a 12-cent cotter pin that holds the steering linkage together. But how valuable is keeping your car's steering linkage from failing?

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