How to Reduce Morale and Sabotage your own Company

Eliminate the communal coffee pot in order to save money.  Then send ten of your senior executives to a cushy four-star resort, as part of a “Team Building” exercise.

Hold a charity event during office hours, but tell your staff they must use their own vacation time if they want to participate.  Then gush to the media how how wonderful your company is for helping out the community.

Schedule meetings during lunch.  Cleverly disguise the fact that you’re making those poor suckers work during their break by calling it a “Lunch-and-Learn”.

At Lunch-and-Learns, it’s especially fun to serve hot pizza.  But have it delivered at noon, and let the food sit there for 40 minutes and get cold before giving anyone permission to eat.

In the interest of saving $20 on a $500,000 budget, exclude a key Project Team Member from a business lunch.  Tell them it’s because “Money is tight.”   Chuckle to yourself as you eat, when you think of them brown-bagging it alone.

Re-invent a procedure so that it now takes twice as long to do the same job.  Then give a 60 minute Powerpoint presentation on why this is a good thing.

Allow selected employees (especially those with children) to work from home when urgent personal matters need attending to.   Do NOT extend this same privileges to single people. (Serves ’em right, for deciding not to breed!)

Respect and praise your treat your staff in inverse proportion to the education they’ve received (i.e. treat your junior admin staff like royalty, and your PhD’s like crap).

Implement a performance review system, where everyone basically gets the same pay raise, regardless of how well they did.   But make everyone go through the whole procedure anyway, like it actually makes a damned difference.

Treat your salaried staff like hourly workers.  Don’t measure success on what someone actually accomplishes at the end of the day.  (It’s how long they actually sit at their desk that really matters).

Hold a meeting for 4 straight hours, without giving anyone a coffee or bathroom break. (If you can last that long, so can THEY!).

Schedule work-related technical seminars during lunch or after-hours. (If people want to professionally develop, they can do it on their OWN time!).

Remember that “Safety First” dosen’t actually apply for actual safety concerns.    Rather, it’s to provide lip-service to such trivial items like reminding us to wash our hands, or telling us to hold the railing when walking on slippery steps.

The more important a deadline is, the more you must remind the person that it needs to be done ASAP.   And when they finally complete it, extend the due date.

Hold a Christmas Lunch during office hours.  But make people pay for the meal themselves.   And don’t even call it a “Christmas” Lunch.  Use the word “Holiday” instead.   And if people still want to attend, tell them they have to use their own vacation time to go.

“Promote” someone to a position with more responsibility but with no extra pay. Then intimidate and scold them if they have the nerve to ask for a modest salary increase.   Then hire a retiree/contractor at $100 an hour, who’s already collecting a full pension.

If you want to chew someone out, remember to do it in public, in front of their peers.   Now, EVERYONE will know you’re an a-hole, and not just that one person.

Try to keep at least a ten-to-one ratio, when handing out “You screwed up“‘s versus “Atta-boy“‘s.

Assign a new-hire to a mentor who’s known to be socially inept and dysfunctional.   When they can’t get along, blame the newbie.

Hold an afternoon BBQ and “Fun Day” for the summer students, but do nothing for the full-time staff. Then announce in the company newsletter what a great job the students did, and how important they are to the company.

Insult everyones’ intelligence with a lame-ass  presentation (i.e. 45-minute seminar how to put recycled items into the Blue-Box).   Then repeat the same talk, 6 months later.

Never mind micro-management. Try nano-management. Or better yet, pico-management.

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44 Comments on “How to Reduce Morale and Sabotage your own Company”

  1. Brett Legree Says:

    You forgot one.

    Don’t tell your employees anything when something really important happens at your company. Make sure to deny any rumours that are going around and tell the employees to ignore the rumours and “focus on meeting deliverables”.

    When the rumour is proven true by national newspapers, only then admit that anything was known by the company, but go no further i.e. don’t explain to the employees why they are constantly kept in the dark.

  2. Friar Says:

    @Brett
    Yeah, it’s always great when employees hear the stories about their own companies from the papers first. That generates great morale and confidence in their leaders! 😉

  3. Mike Goad Says:

    Some of this looks very familiar.

    I was counseled by a manager last year for just paying lip service to the required safety minute before the first class of the day. It didn’t matter that I was the only one doing the classes and so I was having supposed to do a safety minute every single day for weeks on end. I don’t remember exactly what he said other than stressing how very, very important it was to meet “our” commitments on safety.

    Yeah, right.

    I think that he had forgotten that I was the high paid contractor retiree brought in to augment the training staff and that I had retired early in part because of the mickey mouse b.s.

  4. Friar Says:

    @Mike
    Hahahah! Oh, this all sounds TOO FAMILIAR!

    How about having to start off EVERY meeting by announcing where the fire exits are (even though there are only six people at the table, and everyone’s been in the building countless times before?)

  5. Brett Legree Says:

    Safety item I always hear – don’t trip over the cords on the floor (power cables, network cables, etc.)

    How about:

    – set up conference rooms properly with dedicated PC’s and projectors, centralized in the room under the table so you can’t trip – you know, like at a professional company!


  6. Okay, now I know why I’m self employed. I’d take financial insecurity and long hours over this BS any day!

  7. Friar Says:

    @Brett
    No…leave the cords and cables out. But then give the staff a seminar on the dangers of tripping over objects. That way, if anything happens, it’s THEIR fault!

    @Alex

    ..and this is why many of us are TRYING to become self-employed! 😦

  8. Karen Swim Says:

    Friar, I am always amazed that companies get it so blatantly wrong. I wonder at the reaction if execs read a list like this – would they comprehend the stupidity or would they dismiss it as the rantings of the disgruntled?

  9. Friar Says:

    @Karen
    I don’t think execs want to (or can) comprehend their own stupidity that they’ve created.

    Sadly, you’re probably right…they’d just dimiss all of this as rantings of “disgruntled” employees.

    Too many companies are like this. I wonder why everyone puts up with it. Talking to old-timers, I get a sense people were treated much better 30 years ago. What happened?


  10. Hey Friar,

    why don’t you complain more, maybe that will make it better.

    Its people like you what cause unrest.

    Eyeteaguy

  11. Eyeteaguy Says:

    Just kidding! I have been lurking. I am going to try to be all of your blogging steroetypes.

    My company is at the other extreme end of the spectrum. Its very unpleasant here as well.

    However I would love our president to be put in charge of your comapny. Maybe we would find a happy medium?

    Probabaly not. He’d find a way to combine the worst of both systems and he’d yell at you and me.

    At least we could attend some meetings together and eat cold pizza and cross our legs.

    Eyeteaguy

  12. Friar Says:

    @Justsomeguy (not Eyeteaguy)

    Well, I was feeling bad. I ranted. And I felt better. So THERE!

    PS. You signed your name “Eyeteaguy”. Duh. 😉

    @Eyeteaguy
    I think there’s a critical mass. Once a company gets too big, it collapses under it’s own weight and self-implodes in a burst of gamma rays. Into a big black hole of stupidity. It’s like this for every large corporation, pretty much.

  13. Eyeteaguy Says:

    I heartily agree with you. Our group of companies has expanded and then contracted to the same size that it was before 3 times now. It seems you can have one guy running the show but he can only manage so much. After that you need a board, or a group to run things. Either that or run the company as divisions.

    I hear your factory will be split up. Maybe that will be a good thing depending on who they leave in charge.

    I used to work for Nortel when their slide started. I was not surprised when they fell from grace. They were having meetings about meeting about when to meet next. After the old guard (who loved, respected and funded engineers) left the accountants took over. (insert funeral march here)

    The old joke goes, How do you create a medium sized business? Give a large business to the accountants.

    Eyeteaguy

  14. Friar Says:

    @Eyeteaguy

    You’re right. Once you get more than a few people and things start to get decided upon by “Committee”, it becomes too complicated. Geez, five people can barely decide on what type of pizza to order, let alone run a company.

    Hey! I worked for Nortel too! I joined in August 2000 and got laid off in May 2001.

    But I got three months severance which allowed me to take a great summer road-trip, so it wasn’t so bad.

    Still, I was pretty pissed off, though, when I lost my job.

  15. Eyeteaguy Says:

    14 comments. I may have to get controversial again…

  16. Friar Says:

    @Eyeteaguy

    Yeah…crickets chirping here today.

    I tell ya..it’s because I’m NOT a Cool Kid!

    But that’s okay. At least I have a small group or loyal readers.

    Maybe I should have blogged about blogging, like last week.

    Or maybe I should have written a post praising the Cool Kids for being so cool.

    Then I’d have a zillion comments, for sure.

  17. XUP Says:

    This is freakin’ eerie because every single one of these things totally describes my workplace down to the newly installed “Please use the Handrail” signs everywhere outside the building because they can’t get anyone to actually remove the snow and ice from the steps. And how they didn’t tell us until after the Christmas lunch (which we had to pay for ourselves) that we had to put in vacation time for it. Do you work at my office? Wait, we have to pay for that cold pizza ourselves, right? Right, you DO work at my office.

  18. Friar Says:

    @XUP
    You’re not the first person to tell me that.

    What is there…just ONE company that everyone works for? 😦

  19. Cath Lawson Says:

    Friar – that sounds like a crappy place to work. Sometimes, I think it would be nice just to collect a nice salary each month for doing a 40 hour week.

    But this has reminded me why I never want to do that again.

  20. Brett Legree Says:

    Brothers and Sisters, we all work for the Victory Corporation, toiling as one in the struggle between Oceania and Eurasia (or was that Eastasia?)

    Victory Gin, Victory Cigarettes, Victory Nuclear.

    And did you hear, Brothers and Sisters, choco rations being increased to 25 grammes?

    Doubleplusgood that!

  21. Friar Says:

    @Cath
    Like I said…there are SO MANY companies like that. Lots of us are trying to figure out a way to go into business for ourselves. (But hopefully make the same money!) 😉

    @Brett
    “Do it to Julia…” 🙂


  22. You poeple are pathetic. Just be happy you have jobs. And jobs where your boss doesn’t call you an idiot and yell at you all the time.

    You don’t know how good you have it. Suck it up, bunch of pussies.

    Eyeteaguy

  23. Patricia Says:

    I had no idea – this was so enlightening and informative and funny.
    Our firm has 13/now 12 employees – it is just work 24/7 to keep on top of things…now the bigger firms have PR people and communications people…not ours we do it all,
    But then we are the local guys so folks will not hire us for their work projects…it is 35 years of non-stop work…and now our retirement income has disappeared and of course we must pay our own health care….
    Now reps for products do bring lunch every once in awhile….We call business meetings and conferences and classes – vacation without pay…

    This month we are drawing no pay because the low person on the totem pole is the sole provider for his family of 3….There must be work coming in within the next 3 months…Nope they sure do like the big firms in the big cities…

    Are you sure you guys want to have your own business?

  24. Mike Goad Says:

    Eyeteaguy: “Just be happy you have jobs.”

    I have a pension, not a job.

  25. Friar Says:

    @Eyeteaguy

    “Just be happy you have jobs”.

    Nahhhh. I disagree…! That’s just accepting the default position. If we all did that, we’d never move ahead.

    @Patricia
    Wow. That sounds rough. That’s one thing we don’t have to worry about in Canada. At least our Health Care is free.

    There IS something to be said about a steady paycheck with a 9-5 job. But ideally, it’s at a company that isn’t dysfunctional.

    @Mike
    Oh..suuuure. Rub it in!

  26. Brett Legree Says:

    @Eyeteaguy,

    Somewhere out behind a black wall of monsoon rain and beyond our wire, the Phantom Blooper laughs.

    I laugh too.

    @Patricia,

    As Friar says, it is not good to hear that this is happening to you. And I’ve worked for a smaller business where I did not receive pay for three months, when my wife was pregnant with triplets and we had already a 3-year old. And then I quit.

    I quit, and found another job.

    I would guess (and I am not an expert) that a smaller business, being more dynamic than a larger one, will feel the effects of a downturn much more quickly than a larger one, just as it can change direction more quickly.

    Like a leaf blowing in the wind, versus a 100-year old oak.

    But even the mighty oak will fall, eventually. I just don’t want to be around when it *does* fall, and the leaves scatter – leaves that will all be looking for new homes and work.

    And my own personal decision, when I do run my own business, I will employ no one but myself. I will not grow the business to employ others. I do not want to be responsible for the livelihood of anyone outside of my own family circle. It is quite enough stress on me already to provide for four children without worrying about someone else’s family too.

    Please understand I mean no disrespect – just that for me, that is a choice I will make. I would contract someone but not hire someone.

    Also – and as optimistic as I generally am – I do not have faith that the pension fund in my country will be around when I might choose to retire, in spite of all of the contributions that I and my company make towards it. Those before me have screwed things up to the point that it likely won’t be there for me, even though I am paying into it for them. No, I have already accepted that I will work until I am on the wrong side of the grass, and that is okay.

    I am counting on nothing being there and on being able to rely on no one but myself, even if I do continue to work for someone else. The days of having a big company look after you are over, whether people want to admit it or not.

    I will say something more that isn’t meant to disrespect anyone, rather, to speak to anyone who might listen.

    If we are looking for people to blame when we see the cutbacks where we work – the elimination of lunches, discretionary spending and so forth, we have only to look at ourselves.

    Ask yourself – when is the last time you spent more than $150 on a pair of leather shoes that were made in your own country, shoes that can be resoled and will last you 10 years or more?

    Can’t remember? No, you buy your shoes at Payless or Target or Wal-Mart.

    And that is why we have a society like we have now. We all want to pay less and make more. We think we should be paying less in taxes and then we wonder why there is no health care or why it is failing.

    If everyone looks at the price first and the quality of the service or product received second, or last, this is what we get.

    Bigger companies cutting back more and more to reduce profit margins, putting the smaller companies that care out of business.

  27. Friar Says:

    @Brett

    Wow…good discussion. (That was longer than your last blog post, I think!) 🙂


  28. […] How to Reduce Morale and Sabotage your own Company at The Deep Friar […]

  29. Eyeteaguy Says:

    My senseless comment only spawned two. I may have to change tactics and actually say something worthwhile. We’ll get you over 100 again Mr. Friar, don’t you worry. If I have to have an arguement with myself we will do it!

    @Brett I hear you. Loud and clear and I agree with all you say. In all honesty people will treat other people in the workplace like they think they should. i.e. if I had half a chance to screw to pooch I would. So I had better make sure my employees are too busy and if they do manage to get 5 minutes to themselves I’ll make an IT policy that prevents them from even reading the news.

    Riiiiight, happy workers are non-productive workers. Check out how Google and Skype treat their employees. Pound for pound they are the most productive IT people in the world.

    Anyway, you people are not pathetic. You are some of the most intelligent people I know. And that fact that you challange everything is a symptom of that. Just you wait, you will all be successfull in your own way in your own time.

    Eyeteaguy

  30. Friar's Mom Says:

    @ Eyeteaguy

    You must have lots of free time on your hands if you’re aiming at 100. I have better things to do today.

    Darn, I got suckered into adding this Comment.

  31. Brett Legree Says:

    @Friar,

    Thanks – well, I had read all of the comments in here and though your post started with a rant there is a lot of thought behind it. This is a pretty complicated subject.

    @Eyeteaguy,

    Exactly – Google and Skype would be examples of “world class” companies, and look at what they can do. It is also possible for a company to re-invent itself to put results first (Best Buy is a good example, on their administrative side).

    We’ll get there… we’ll get there…

  32. Friar Says:

    @Eyeteaguy

    Well,we’re in the 30’s….we have a ways to go yet.

    @Friar’s Mom
    Hahahah! Way to tell Eyeteaguy! (Maybe we can stir things up here)

    @Brett
    Yep..there’s more than just a harmless rant behind this post. It’s got me thinking about a lot of things..and re-directing my priorities.

    (Oh, God..that sounds so Pro-ACTIVE!) Don’t tell anyone!

  33. Eyeteaguy Says:

    @ Friar’s Mom

    I also have better things to do but I also have my priorities. Stirring the pot at my favorite blog is very high on my list.

    Helping get 100 comments on said blog is also high on the list.

    You would be stunned what I get done in a day. Currently I am patching a server with .NET 3.5 Service Pack 1. My job description could be redesigned as Professional Progress Bar Watcher.

    I also have 2 girls at home and my wife works nights so I get them up and going and to school/daycare as my wife is sleeping in and I get them from daycare, fed, bathed and in bed at night. I also put in a few hours for work remotely as well as run a small computer repair business.

    How do I do it all? I have no idea. But 2 computers with 2 screens with remote desktops help.

    In fact Friar should be honoured I VISIT his blog let alone inundate it with comments.

    He is special…… needs.

    Eyeteaguy

  34. Eyeteaguy Says:

    Aww man, now I am commenting on comments. I think I need rehab.

  35. Friar Says:

    @Eyeteaguy

    “Stirring up the pot at my favorite blog is very high on my list.”

    WOW!!! I’m flattered! 🙂

  36. Friar's Mom Says:

    @ Wee Friar

    Don’t be flattered with Eyeteaguy. He called you “special . . . needs”.

    There’s more to him than meets the “Eye”.

  37. Brett Legree Says:

    @Friar’s Mom,

    The Wee Friar knows Eyeteaguy personally as the three of us played a lot of Track Mania at my house a few moons ago. It was a great evening!

    (And I’ve known the Eyeteaguy for almost 17 years – wow!)

  38. Friar Says:

    @Friar’s Mom and Eyeteaguy

    Yeah, apparently, I’m….SPESHULL….!!

    (Clapping my hands, wearing a hockey helmet, and riding the short bus to school)

  39. Eyeteaguy Says:

    A ringing endorsement from a guy who wishes he was a viking, sticking up for a little guy who picks fights with a Dr. who would rather be colouring.

    Has it really come to this.

    Brett, saying we bonded over a video game isn’t helping.

    And I should probably stop picking on the Wee Friar, I’m afraid of his Mom.

    Eyeteaguy

  40. Friar Says:

    @Eyeteaguy and Brett

    That was a pretty cool game. I forgot the name. Thanks for reminding me. I should download it!

  41. Brett Legree Says:

    @Eyeteaguy,

    Well, I sort of left out the part about the beer. That was some pile of bottles in my basement the next day…

    And what do you mean “wishes” heh heh

    (I think we really are all crazy. And that’s okay.)

  42. lost Says:

    wonderful blunderful ideas i must say

  43. Friar Says:

    @lost

    Yep…perfect if you want to drive your company into the ground and chase your staff away! 🙂


  44. Let me guess. Your company also acquires other smaller companies for stupid amounts of credit line [not cash, they don’t have any], and then lays off 10% of their work force 3-6 months later?

    “Assets” are then ‘hired back’ at the corp’s outlying ‘research offices’ in countries that feature hot and cold running dysentery. But this is a ‘win for the shareholders’ because variable costs have been cut and the ROI goes up?

    Right?


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