Employee Appreciation

As a consultant, I spend a lot of time at big companies and big companies generally have a morale problem. Bureaucracy, cubicles, and lax management will tend to do that. Typically they try to solve this problem by exchanging money for goodwill. A few projects ago I was consulting at one such company where they spent a ton of money having a day of games, burgers, and events during business hours. There was a big ad campaign, lots of promotional tie-ins and give-aways -- a team of people clearly worked on this for weeks (or maybe months). Now add up productivity, food, and sumo-suit rental costs and we are talking some serious money. All worth it in service of employee good will, right?

A few days after this spectacle, my team and I decided to walk to lunch. Now the most direct route to our restaurant of choice happened to be through the front door. However, the security guy stopped us when we tried to leave. Employees aren't allowed to enter or leave through the front door. Why? That's the policy.

So we backtracked, went out another door, had lunch, and came back. At which point we discovered that our badges wouldn't let us in the side doors. So we tried another side door. No luck. We went around to the front where we found out that security had turned off our badges intentionally so that we would have to go in the front door and get a lecture from the head security guy. I'm not kidding. 3 grown men got a talking to for trying to exit through the front door.

Later we heard, informally, that the company wants to keep the front entrance looking nice so that's why employees may not enter or leave through the front door. The obvious implication here is that visitors would be put off by the sight of employees walking in through the same door as them. Does anyone really believe that one day of corporate sponsored fun is likely to make up for the daily humiliation of having to enter through the back door of your own company?

Comments

Anonymous said…
I love it. In order to indoctrinate you on the sanctity of the front door, they force you to violate the sanctity of the front door.

Do these people know how to use their brains?
Anonymous said…
I know it's hard for you to understand (esp. technical folks like yourself) but these decisions are driven by real business needs and demands.

It may be hard for you to appreciate these things -- not being informed about business and management and all the other strategic stuff that's above your head -- but they're for your own good, and the good of the company.

We know putting in place our door policy was the right thing to do. So do our shareholders, and our customers. These are the constituencies we have to worry about.

So why don't you leave management to the experts, and go back to your cube like a good little worker bee. Just make sure you use the designated entrance for the "help" please.

Hope to see you at the next free pizza lunch!!
Stephen Chu said…
Awesome story. Gotta love it.

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