#70 How To Not Care About Your Employees: Actions Not Words

A couple weeks ago I was lucky enough to cross paths with our cable TV provider - Charter Spectrum Time Warner or whatever they call themselves post mergers.

Our cable bill had jumped 50% over the past few months, and I was on the phone with the nice cable lady trying to understand why. 

She did her best to convince me that I was lucky to have Charter Spectrum Time Warner in my life, but in the end, we agreed to disagree. And I told her to discontinue our cable service. She did as I asked, and then ramped up the cost of my internet service because it was now unbundled.

No problem. I'd been down this path before and knew it was coming. But the story doesn’t end here.

My change in service required an equipment swap. So the kind phone lady told me where to go to make that swap. As soon as I heard the location I told her it wouldn't work. I'd tried this move a few years ago and the equipment at the given location wasn't compatible with my service.

She told me I was wrong. That the problem had been fixed.

I pushed back, asked her to double-check.

She double-checked and said it was all good. The location would definitely be able to help me. So I jumped in the car, drove the 25 minutes, and arrived just before closing time.

The smiling lady behind the counter then proceeded to tell me that - she couldn't help me. This location didn't service my area - their equipment wasn’t compatible with my service.

Yes, I am a fool. Shame on me for not calling ahead. But that’s not the point I’m trying to make today.

The poor lady in the store said she gets this all the time. Dealing with pissed off customers that keep getting sent to the wrong location. And she confirmed my own personal experience - that this problem has been going on for YEARS. 

And she’s told her bosses over and over, but the problem never gets addressed. 

Now from my perspective it looks like a pretty easy fix - correct the coverage database that the phone operators use. But maybe it’s more than that. Maybe it would take a little cross-functional cooperation and a few lines of code. I can’t know for sure, but what I do know for sure is that it reinforces the thought in my mind that Charter Spectrum Time Warner…

Doesn’t give a crap about their counter people.
Doesn't care about the anger they face day after day, year after year. 
Doesn’t care about their stress levels.

This is the stuff that defines culture, not the feel good garbage that companies plaster all over their websites. For example, here is a quote from the cable companies website…

“Charter is committed to improving communities and impacting lives where our customers and employees live, work and play.”

And they go on to talk about all the charity work they do in their communities. All the checks they write. And their website has faces of smiling kids.

That’s all great stuff, but it’s easy to write a check and give folks time off to do charity work. It’s a lot harder to give a shit about your employees on a daily basis. That’s why I’d suggest you never bother reading a companies mission, vision, core values. Nine times out of ten it’s wordsmithed bullshit that some consultant helped them write. 

Instead, watch how they treat their employees. 

And think about how you’re treating your employees.

Are you missing low hanging cultural fruit like this - simple things you can do to make people's days better - to make it clear that you really do care about their well-being?

THE MAP

(This site is all about building a Map that will help me do work and life better. So at the end of each post I check in to see if any changes / insights come to mind.)

For those of you that are following along with my Map building exercise, this is an easy one. Here’s my WORK Map.

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And the area that fits today’s discussion is BE FAIR DAILY. I introduced this concept to you back in post #10 - Help People Grow. It’s all about culture and caring and the environment you create for your employees. And how you need to figure out what it is you believe in and then practice it every single day. Easy to say - hard to do - especially for huge companies like Charter Spectrum Time Warner Satan…

***Note: This site works best when you read the posts in order. So please head to the ARCHIVE to get started.