Although I was part of Acceler8 from the very beginning, I still had another job up until January this year. I’ve looked at all the jobs I’ve had throughout my career and thought I’d pen my ‘letter to my former employers’ – to give them some pointers on how they could have engaged me better.
Dear all former employers,
I’m sad to write this letter, although I hope in some small way it brings happiness to others as a result.
For more than 25 years I gave you my time, my loyalty and my service. When I started I was excited. Excited for my future and excited about the job I was doing. I’m what lots of people call a ‘people person’, so how I’m treated as an employee has a huge impact on how I do my job.
You’ve seen customers change over the years – but you’ve lost touch with the people that serve them. You didn’t have to contend with social media in your customer facing days – now short clips in a snapshot of time can go viral.
You’ve had to cut costs to survive – with no additional support for me to be able to serve the customer better.
You tell me to put the customer first – and criticise me when I make a decision to try and achieve that.
You set clear performance criteria – and then fail to see them through because you haven’t invested in your managers.
You tell me you’ve listened – and then do the opposite with no explanation.
You expect me to go the extra mile – but never do anything that would help me in return.
You are not unique. I could be writing this letter to any one of thousands of organisations across the world. You had every opportunity to engage me, excite me and to get the very best out of me. My needs didn’t read like a shopping list. Just a few little things that would have made all the difference.
1. Support me when times are tough. Don’t assume that I am in the wrong because you have received feedback from a customer. Take the time to investigate fully and to establish the facts of what happened, why it happened and what choices I had available to me at the time.
2. Invest in my managers. They often used to do my job and without adequate support (and investment) from you – they are being set up to fail.
3. Listen to me. I’ve probably already got a solution to the problem because I have to make things work every day. Don’t just hear me – take time to really understand how I’m feeling and how I can help you.
4. See beyond my job. Whatever it is I am doing for you, don’t assume that’s all I can do. I’m capable of so much more.
5. Show me you care about me. Take time to get to know me and show appreciation – when you next ask me a favour it will be so much more difficult for me to say no.
All is not lost. I can put you in touch with a really good training company that specialises in employee engagement and management development. I know first hand why it’s needed in every organisation on the planet.