I ran across an article the other day on about.com, written by Human Resources specialist Susan M. Heathfield. In the article, Heathfield cites 20 dumb things that organizations can do to screw up their relationship with the people who work for them. Here are a couple of my personal “favorites.” I’ve seen these things seriously impair employee relations and foster a great deal of negativity among staffers. My comments are in parentheses.

  • Appraise the performance of individuals and provide bonuses for the performance of individuals and complain that you can’t get your staff working as a team. (I personally know of no organization whose employees operate independently of each other. Any employee’s success is almost always dependent on the good work of a fellow employee.)
  • Ask people for their opinions, ideas, and continuous improvement suggestions, and fail to implement their suggestions or empower them to do so. Better? Don’t even provide feedback about whether the idea was considered. (Never underestimate employees’ abilities to know they are being patronized.)
  • Make up new rules for everyone to follow as a means to address the failings of a few. (Ever heard the expression about one bad apple spoiling the whole barrel?)
  • Make a decision and then ask people for their input as if their feedback mattered. (How infuriating is it to be asked how you like a decision when there is absolutely nothing you can do or say to reverse it? It’s less insulting to just not be asked at all.)

For the rest of Heathfield’s list of the dumb things organizations do, click here.