We recently interviewed three ladies for the position of Customer Service Executives, and quite frankly they were very impressive. “One last question”, one of our hiring managers pointed to 26-year-old Marylin Ekoja, who was even more outstanding than the rest of them.
“What is your ideal workplace?” He asked. Her response to this question is the main reason we decided to put up this article.
Please indulge me for a few minutes to give you a background story of my time as an English teacher for over 2 years in one of the most popular secondary schools in my community. This was before I decided to pursue this career as a customer service professional.
The school was barely 5 years old and could already boast of having a healthy advantage when it comes to the number of students in its care. The student’s fee was quite fair, and our salary was rather significant given the location of the school and what other schools pay their staff. So yes, the school always attracted some of the best teachers and more good hands recurrently sent in their resumes to fill in the non-academic staff category.
A new staff or student would quickly learn three obvious things in the first few months of being hired — Firstly, new staff were frequently hired. Secondly, old ones were swiftly resigning and lastly, more parents were angrily withdrawing their children from the school. In 2 years, we had lost more than 50% of our students compared to the 5% we admitted at the beginning of every academic year. “These were my observations” — Marylin said
Lack of Flexibility
Change is the only constant that was never constant in the organization. The management was impervious to change, and new ideas would bounce off their skins like a ball bouncing off the wall in the game of squash, no matter how good it sounded. When an idea is embraced eventually, and good results gotten, they would take all the credit and leave the rest of us to dry.
We Were Uncomfortable and Unproductive
The workplace is where people spend a good part of their lives. So, they cannot afford to be unhappy, unappreciated, unacknowledged and unrewarded. Worse, is if workers are subjugated, bullied or even harassed. These we all experienced in our own different ways from our employer and the management, therefore, it was hard to be productive.
Unfortunately, some staff became disillusioned, and all they wanted to do was show up for work, do their time, go back home and get paid at the end of the month. There was a great decline in commitment to excellence. Teachers were not striving to be better and no one was willing to take responsibilities for their actions or decisions.
Secrets and Deceitful Communications
At some point, it started being about who was in the good books of our employers. Rumours and lies started flying the length and breadth of the organization, and feedbacks were no longer used as tools for growth, but for revenge. Backstabbing and unhealthy competition were two mighty elephants in the room we couldn’t get rid of and this denied us a transparent working environment.
No Respect, No Compassion and Certainly No Sense of Humour
We were spoken rudely to, often embarrassed and insulted in front of students who looked up to us. Compassion did not cross their minds even when someone fell ill or was met with a misfortune.
Salaries were slashed if you didn’t show up for work, no matter how delicate or serious the situation might be. Almost, always no reason to be happy, to laugh and to even have fun. We were often depressed, and it reflected in the quality of our work.
There was a long silence in the conference room, the hiring manager had his ear full whilst it looked like Marilyn had an opportunity to vent. Meanwhile, he assured her that her new job was everything her former job failed to provide, but it struck him what many more Marilyn’s have had to endure in their workplaces. As a hiring manager, it was then critical to make some adjustment as well as evaluation.
Employers have a responsibility to encourage hardworking employee, encourage rest, team bonding activities and personal/professional development. It is no gainsaying that a happy employee is a more productive employee and it is beneficial to everyone — the client, employer and even the employee.