The Rossiter Report – “Re-humanizing the Workplace to Elevate Client Relations”
By Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS
In my wanderings this past week, I have come across a good deal of jargon used in reference to employees. The examples I came across range from Human Capital, In-sourcing, and Onboarding, to Sweat the Asset, Surplused, Extract the Max, and Deselect. With terms like these being used to refer to the human beings (in other words, people) that make your business run and bring in the profit that fills your wallet as business owner, it is no wonder that more and more employees lose all sense of loyalty and desire to give 1000% to the company they are working for. It is no wonder that workplace morale is at such a low level. It is no wonder that employees readily treat clients as they are treated themselves. One thing that business owners overlook is the fact that your employees are the ones who keep you in business. If your clients are your reason for being in business, your employees are the reason you stay in business. Without your employees, you cannot run your business.
Looking at the terms referenced above, think about what happens in your way of thinking about the person that the term refers to. For example, what do you think of when you say the word “employee” versus what you think of when you say the term “Human Capital”. The definition of Employee refers to “a person” where as “capital” refers to “accumulated goods devoted to the production of other goods; or accumulated possessions calculated to bring in income”. How would you feel if you were viewed as a good or possession? Go through each of the terms used above and return to the original definition (I have attached links to the definitions for your convenience). By looking at the original meaning of the words we bandy about the office and industry thoughtlessly, we can get a good hold on what it is we are actually communicating. Once we realize what we are truly saying about the people who are serving us by running our business for us, we begin to get a handle on why a particular culture exists in our company.
In order to get a handle on the various ways in which your company is devaluing and de-humanizing your employees, try jotting down all the jargon you use during the day when referring to the people you have hired to run your business. Even if you do not make note of all the references you make, you will be quite surprised at how often you use jargon relating to your employees and how truly awful these terms can be. Once you have a list of terms you use, write down how each term makes you feel as the target of the term (include in your feelings the way you now relate to the work you are doing for the person giving you the label). Finally, think about how you want your employees to feel, then choose (and use) your words accordingly. It is easy to get caught up in the buzz-word frenzy because buzz-words make you feel as though you belong to the cool crowd, those who are In-the-Know. What we often do not think about is that, once you become part of a group you exclude everyone who is not part of the group; Those People on The Outside become of no value. Remember, your employees become who you tell them they are.
Copyright © 2012 – Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS
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