Post by Allison O’Neill, contributing Women On Business writer
I go on and on about LISTENING to your workers, CARING about what they say and ACTING on it. It was because I worked at a company that didn’t listen (but boasted constantly about how much it did) that I got into surveying staff in the first place. It is UNBELIEVEABLY frustrating working somewhere your voice has absolutely zero significance, yet management bleat on and on about how much it does. Talk about out of touch with reality!
One employee did something about it. Ex-Virgin Blue employee Torsten Koerting designed a board game using Virgin Blue branding that criticises his former company’s decision-making process. It is a modified version of "Snakes and Ladders" and was attached to a farewell email to his colleagues. That turned out to be just the beginning as the media found out about it (I read about it here) and boy did they love it! It seems Torsten isn’t the only disgruntled employee – but he is the only one that has spoken up about it.
The question now is what is Virgin Blue going to do about it? Will they use it as an opportunity to have a frank discussion with staff and find a way to make sure that convo is constant? From the outside looking in, Virgin Blue in Aussie and Pacific Blue in New Zealand have always seemed to exude a fun, funky culture – perhaps that was so at the beginning but it has dwindled now? Maybe the fun times of being thrown in the river are over?
Virgin Blue is just the one of gazillions of businesses full of unhappy staff that are sick of not being heard. 2008 and STILL companies haven’t got this right. What’s worse is that it is not expensive, difficult or time consuming to fix. All you need is a CEO that actually cares, not just says they do. It might however be scary for some. If the thought of listening to your staff scares the heck out of you then (sorry but) HAHA! It means you’ve been so lazy with listening for so long that things have really gone to the dogs. You really deserve the scariness.
If you want to figure out if your company is at risk of being thrown around the world’s media and blogosphere because one of your workers has hit the headlines, ask 10 random staff members “What is it about this company that frustrates the crap out of you?” If they can rattle off 5 things without so much as taking a breath you are in trouble so sit down, shut your gob and turn your ears on! Ignorance is NOT bliss!