I am fortunate to have far flung family and friends who work in a wide range of industries. Over Thanksgiving and Christmas I traveled to see or hosted many of them and got an interesting and sobering perspective on how socially mature our organizations are in general. The reality is that we have a long way to go.
One of the anecdotes that I heard was how a manufacturing professional was never consulted when 'improvements' were made to his die cutting process that made it worse and how the quality of materials had declined year after year even though his management keep on and on about quality and performance improvement. The profound disrespect for colleagues represented in his stories was maddening. And then there was the company that launched an internal blog only to have it become a dumping ground for complaints that were never responded to or resolved, leading the company to shut down the blog because *it* was damaging moral. And then there was the business owner who didn't feel the need to share a letter of heartfelt thanks for his staff's work because it was 'distracting'.
All of these stories were disheartening and, I believe, somewhat linked to the economy. Employees are trapped which makes it easy to take advantage of them or treat them poorly. The issue for companies is that their employees will have a long memory and no particular need to go above and beyond for their organizations. In fact, they may go out of their way to dissuade others from doing business with the organization or working for it. It doesn't make good business sense now, when everyone is trying to do more with less or later when the economy improves and employees flock to leave.
We have miles to go...