Oct 24, 2007

Your Employee Is Not Your Enemy

My blogging friend Jetpacks has a post today about his stint working for the in-house creative department of some nameless corporation deep in Red State country where he lives.

And how this company has installed something called Websense, whose purpose is to stop employees from using the internet for personal reasons. So here's what he has to put up with:

Most blogs I can't see from work, especially Wordpress blogs, where I am met with:
Category "Social Networking and Personal Sites" is filtered.

Some blogs I can get to, but following a link about a "ghostly cup of coffee," I am met with this message:
Category "Non-Traditional Religions and Occult and Folklore" is filtered.

The Best Page in The Universe is blocked with this message:
Category "Tasteless" is filtered.

Anything on YouTube gets you this:
Category "Illegal or Questionable" is filtered.

The website Something Awful, where the Your Band Sucks feature is pretty fun, is a serious non-no:
Category "Adult Content" is filtered.
Now as I posted on his blog, the inadvertent censorship is the least of my problems with this. Because what we have here is the perfect illustration of the corollary to my tirads "Your Customer Is Not Your Enemy."

Let's call it "Your Employee Is Not Your Enemy."

Seriously, when you treat your employees as if they were they enemy, they are going to pay you back in spades. And JetPack's (temporary) employer is treating its employees as if they were kindergartners or juvenile delinquents. I mean who wants to work for someone who assumes that you are a slacker and a layabout and that you will cheat them by goofing off any chance you get.

Even the idea that an employee surfing the internet is doing a less than optimal job is ludicrous. A five minute visit to YouTube does wonders for the psyche. An online shopping trip can replace a 2 hour trip to the mall. Not to mention the well proven value of happy employees who feel their bosses trust them.

It's all part of the same mindset though: employees are out to cheat you, customers are out to rip you off, if I gave everyone with a bill for $4.01 a dollar back instead of 99 cents worth of change, I'd lose two dollars a day.

Now why this sort of attitude is so prevalent is mysterious. It just seems so counter-intuitive. The only good news is that if affords plenty of opportunity to those who take the opposite path. Sites like Monster and HotJobs-- as well as all the "here's what it's like to work at Company X" sites can help spread the word for the good guys. The bad guys? Well, no one ever believes it's really ever that bad.

Plus they need the paycheck.


Anonymous said...


I believe that brand, sales, marketing and profits happen from the inside/out. When we don't trust our employees, give them ownership and creative license to be innovative, and treat them with respect and dignity, the results are harmful to the business.

Alan Wolk said...

By and large I agree Lewis, but there are some brands/stores that don't seem to suffer, not matter how badly they treat their employees.

That's when I start to believe in karma ;)

Anonymous said...

Same thing happens at my work. We had a flood 4 months ago and we were given mops and told to get right to it. Three months later, still no professional cleaning. We had to harass management for some money to clean it (it smelled horrible, it wasn't "clean water"), and were confronted with "you guys are trouble makers, it's not a big deal." In trying to "show who is boss" they've alienated a whole department.
Why are we still all working there is my question.

Anonymous said...

Heh. Writer's Coin, your cover's gonna be blown as soon as we read about the first cholera outbreak in the U.S. in 150 years.

Alan Wolk said...

@Writers Coin: What kind of business are you in? That just sounds awful.

Jonathan Trenn said...

Holey Moley. Non-traditonal religion...what the hell is that? Real scary. This company has 'approved religions'.

Anonymous said...

is it just me or are this fascistic company just emulating the current administration? if the govenment can do it, hey....