I received this question from one of my readers looking for advice concerning his workplace where poor management and workplace favoritism is rampant.
The place I work is so bad with the lack of consistency of how they manage and make decisions, it has affected people to the point of fearing for their jobs and having to take medication just to cope. If you haven’t been here for 20 years or related to any of the management family, then you’re treated as if you don’t know anything. Most of the upper management and quite a few hourly people are related in some way or another and the remaining people are treated unfairly.
They pick and choose who they can use the rules on. There was a manager going around last night asking employees to fill out statements about another employee to get information on this person to fire them. They make decisions by just asking certain employees. I went to my manager about a job that I was interested at one of the other plants and he gave me excuses why I could not apply for the job.
What can be done? Several people have lost their jobs because of this kind of treatment. I am not the only person that feels this way, but people feel as if they don’t want to rock the boat or they will get fired. What can be done to stop this? This is the worst place I have ever worked!!!!
You ask “What can be done to stop this?” The question isn’t what can be done to stop the practices you described, but why are these practices being allowed at all?
It seems as if no one is even addressing these poor behaviors, which tells me that these behaviors aren’t viewed as problems in this company by the people in charge. The management practices that you have described can lead to lower employee morale and I would say that people taking medication to deal with their managers is definitely a sign that morale is down. These behaviors can also cost the company money in terms of lost productivity, loss of innovation, absenteeism, inefficiency, and turnover.
Many times, leaders don’t know that their behaviors are leading to these consequences, so the bad behaviors continue until the company is hit with a lawsuit or hit in their pocketbooks in some other way. Sadly, by the time this happens, the company has usually lost a lot of money due to the other consequences (such as turnover, loss of productivity, etc.).
The company leaders have the ability to change the situation or speak to someone who can change the situation…if they choose to or are forced to. However, there’s no way for you or me to know how long that’ll take, especially since it sounds like they’re not on the path to change.
Now, you need to realize that you deserve better and need to take the reins into your own hands. Don’t wait until you’ve been fired or reached your melting point.
So this brings us to your options. Ultimately, you have two.
1) Continue to stay in what you refer to as “the worst place I have ever worked” and deal with the culture
2) Leave, but only when you have another job lined up
I just received your second e-mail about how you aspire to change the work environment. I deeply admire your determination so I’m adding a third option.
3) Work with management to change these behaviors.
However by attempting to do so, you must be prepared to deal with the risks, so I’d recommend having your resume ready just in case they put a target on your back. Culture can be very difficult to change and that’s even after the management team is on board.
First of all, document, document, and document. Have a list of specific problems and solutions. You mention that this culture is pervasive with upper management, which leads me to believe that these behaviors are tolerated through the company.
Prepare what you have to say and run it by a person in a higher position whom you trust. If you’re in the union, you’ll need to proceed according to the union’s rules. If not, you can talk directly to your manager about the problems. If your manager is part of the problem, go to your manager’s manager.
In a reasonable manner, explain the problems you have documented and the consequences. Then suggest possible solutions. If you can speak about how they’re losing money by having this type of environment, they’ll be more likely to listen.
By bringing these problems to their attention, they may decide to change. But they may also laugh at you, ignore you, treat you worse, or fire you. Regardless of the outcome, you should be proud of yourself for having the courage to confront the situation.
In the meantime, make sure you’re prepared for the worst-case scenario. Update your resume, polish your dress shoes, make sure your suit fits, and check out Indeed.com, which pulls job openings from job search sites as well as company postings. You can search for jobs by keyword or city. When you see a job that interests you, check to see if you have a connection on LinkedIn who works at that company and get in contact with him or her.
Readers, write a comment and describe the worst place you’ve worked.