How to Decimate Company Morale

29 Apr

Today, a beloved work colleague quit. It was somewhat surprising, and would have been alarming had it been the only employee defection of the month. Or the week. But last week two employees also quit, one right after the other. At a company of 13 people, to lose 3 in one week is hard. And yet, I am sadly not suprised at the departures of my friends.

When I was a kid I would sit in class and observe my teachers, evaluating their performance and thinking, “When I become a teacher I am NOT doing that!” I now observe how my employer manages me and my colleagues and I make similar observations. How would I be if I owned my own company? How would I incentivize employees to succeed, how would I punish sluggish results and reward good performance? I think about how I would approach all of these things as an employer and business owner, and I realize that all of my answers contradict my employer’s. Would I reward salespeople who met and exceeded sales goals by reducing their commissions and micromanaging them, insisting on a number of calls made per day that rivals those made by telemarketers? No. I would give my salespeople the room they need to succeed and take a consultative, rather than micromanaging, approach to supervising them.

Would I invest money in furthering employee training, in marketing my company to the industry, in ensuring that our product offering remains relevant to our industry and clients? Absolutely. I would understand that it is either evolve or perish in this unforgiving marketplace. I would also offer employees a means towards advancing within the organization. One employee who left last week had an entry-level position with no opportunity for advancement. It shouldn’t be puzzling why she left after years of grunt work. It would have been puzzling had she stayed in this dead-end job. But she has left for a larger company that has provided her an opportunity for career growth. She is young, bright and ambitious, and our company’s loss is this other company’s gain.

As salespeople leave, they will join our competitors, and all of our time and money spent training them will have been for naught. A successful salesperson who was fired last fall is now selling up a storm for one of our main competitors. I fear that this pattern will continue, and our sales will be impacted (I believe they already have been). It is odd to see these changes in the company and not say anything. Which is why I am moved to write this here. I spoke with our CEO last December about flagging morale, and he shrugged off my concerns. I am afraid that at this point, losing one third of the company in one week will make him reevaluate the importance of morale. Because seeing my colleagues flee makes me less inclined to stay (and I suspect I am not the only one who feels this way). It has been a textbook case in how to decimate company morale.

2 Responses to “How to Decimate Company Morale”


  1. The Importance of Emotional Intelligence | The Lebanexican - May 7, 2014

    […] in the post below that I try to figure out what happened to the company morale at my former employer, and there was a realization that my own emotional intelligence would not be rewarded.  You look […]

  2. Begin Again | The Lebanexican - July 30, 2014

    […] to begin? In late April, I wrote the post How to decimate company morale, and two days later I quit my job. It was a scary thing to do, because although I had been looking […]

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