No Esprit De Corps?

Q: It’s hard for me to imagine that a group of engaged employees would be indifferent to the activities or situations that would create risk for their organization. As an executive of a less than 100 employee manufacturing firm we seem to have experienced this event on way too many occasions. Why don’t employees come to me “before it’s too late?”
JM ,Omaha, NE

A: Disengaged Employees Can Spell Trouble at Any Company

You can set up all the compliance procedures and employee hot lines you want, but you need to put mechanisms in place to encourage people to WANT to address the problems. Encouraging people to become whistle-blowers is a challenge for any organization.

My consultant side immediately wonders; A.) Why do employees become silent when a “risk” event pops up its ugly head? B.) Why do some employees take the position, “it’s not my job to report my peer-supervisor- manager etc?” C.) What causes employees to become disengaged from the situation at hand?

The very first item I would look at is the true Esprit De Corps or lack of it in the organization. Not a facade of spirit which is one where the boss believes everybody loves him/her. But a true spirit of professionalism, demonstrated camaraderie, an intrinsic give and take helping hand at all levels and people honestly dealing with people. No doubt that these are part of the cultural challenges facing employer’s every day.

Without the items mentioned in the paragraph above, I would ask, “….how then can there be a mechanism to report and deal with at risk situations?” Employees don’t want to buck the good old boy network; they don’t want to deal with the fear of retribution from management or the offending party and certainly don’t want to be labeled the company snitch.

If you have not provided a mentally safe work environment, you continue to be at risk for these types of events. Managers of companies must keep an open mind, view the company activities and it employees equally at all times. If an owner becomes entrenched within the good old boy network I mentioned above, he/she loses most of the ability to direct the company except through the eyes of what the “network” wants. With that said, I would sincerely ask you this; “Does that scenario spell S-A-F-E?”

The resolution of these issues begin at the top. There is no magic wand to wave, no script or procedure to write that makes everything all better in a flash. Employees must want to be there; they need to be wanted; they need to feel mentally safe; they need to know their vote counts; they want a manager who is a leader not a leader who is a manager; Did I mention that these issues BEGINS AT THE TOP?

I certainly hope this is a fabulous week for you.


George F. Mancuso

George F. Mancuso, CPC