Friday, February 02, 2007

Help Desk Branding

We had a "Team" meeting at the Help Desk yesterday. We are told this sort of monthly status report is going to become the standard but I've heard that story before. What was new is that one of the Corporate bigwigs showed up to tell us all how great The Corporation was. And the way it was spun by this Senior Client Sales Executive, we should all be doing our part to spread the Corporate Brand. Just about every other thing he said indicated that we should be salespeople in addition to the job we're actually paid to do. (And paid poorly for, I might add.)

On the positive side, as a result of submissions to our spanking new suggestion box (that replaced the old suggestion box that was ignored and forgotten years ago), Management has reinstated the incentive program (that was eliminated without comment a year ago). For outperforming everyone else for the month of January, I won a Corporate logo T-shirt. I was able to successfully resist the urge to give it away before the end of the meeting. There's no way I'm going to wear it. My "team spirit" only extends to my next paycheck.

We received a card in the mail last week concerning a third-party "Employee Opinion Survey" of The Corporation. There was some talk about the possibility that the information gathered would not actually be kept confidential and that The Corporation would use the answers to target those critical of The Corporation. In my opinion, it would be unlikely that the PR Company would risk their own reputation by divulging that information. It's much more likely that The Corporation will simply ignore, repackage or spin the information provided to them to make it seem that the employees don't hate the company as much as they actually do. In any case, what's the worst they can do to me? Getting fired could well be an improvement in my situation.

Here's a sample of some questions on the survey. Each one was answerable on a scale of one to five with the unfortunate limitation that I could not rate it lower than one nor could I add specific commentary to broaden my answer.

How satisfied are you with your position at The Corporation?

Not having my position at The Corporation would be an improvement.

I believe that I can advance my career at The Corporation.

My career was standing still years ago, and I have told you as much. The only bright point is knowing that the Site Manager believes I should be able to advance if only one of the Team Leads met with an unfortunate accident.

How committed are you to a long-term career at The Corporation?

I am red shifting even now. Given the opportunity, I would be out of there so fast there would be a thunderclap and the air rushed in to fill the empty space.

I would recommend a friend to work at The Corporation.

I wouldn't recommend and enemy to work at The Corporation.

I am kept informed about matters that affect me.

When it was decided that I was no longer going to be tre trainer, not one person in management told me that it had even happened. Even now, none of them will admit to having made the decision.

I have a good understanding of the company mission and goals.

I have a pretty good idea of the CEO's goals; make as much money as he can and to hell with The Company.

I have a good understanding of how my goals are linked to company goals.

The Corporation is prostituting my labor to the client. I am only one step above slave and if they could get away with worse, I'm sure they would try to use me even more thoroughly.

Please rate The Corporation leadership in the following areas:
Leading by example.

The CEO bought himself a jet. He spent tens of thousands of dollars on strippers in a New York nightclub. He beat up on his short-time trophy wife and then bought her off when she sued him. His salary has nearly doubled in the past year and had nearly doubled in the year before that. At corporate teleconferences when a shareholder brings up a question he doesn't like, he pretends there are technical difficulties leading him to not hear the question or disconnect from the conference altogether.

This is leadership like the Robber Barons were leaders. Except the CEO is not creating a powerful corporation like the railroads became. He is leaving a shriveled husk that, when he takes the money and runs, will be picked over by scavengers.

Motivating me to help the company succeed.
Empowering me to directly influence the quality of my work.
Providing consistent feedback and direction.
Providing appraisals/progress reports on a regular and timely basis.

And so on.

Bet, hey! I got me a T-shirt.

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