- Business and Employment
Workplace Bully and Verbal Abuse Equals Hostile Work Environment
How Using The Scare Tactic To Motivate Employees Is Counterproductive and Causes a Hostile Work Environment
I'm going to give you my view on the matter in plain and simple English. Bluntly, I'd like to point out that this is one of the primary causes of the decline in customer retention, customer service, and repeat business: the "berating" and "beating down" of the employees by the boss; the 'scare tactic' used to motivate employees to produce.
A Hostile Work Environment For Employees
This is a subject that's been bugging me for a long time. I can't get over how some businesses are still using this strategy. Especially sales oriented companies. I was in sales and customer service for over 25 years and I've seen it all: bad management, negative reinforcement, poor customer service, verbal bashing, and lack of validation from management. Whatever way you look at it, it's ALL counterproductive.
Is Verbally Bashing Your Employee Really Going to Stimulate Customer Relationship Marketing?
The practice that really irks me is negative verbal bashing in the workplace. I heard of a manager who was not above berating an employee in front of others, and even in front of the customers!. This manager had no respect for employees as people. Job performance was recognized by an "atta boy", followed by "But......". It was a passive-aggressive attempt to demoralize. When a situation arose that made it necessary to justify or defend a particular business related decision, the employees were interrogated to the point of humiliation. Once their incumbency was confirmed "correct", this manager would acknowledge the action as positive, then immediately follow the positive affirmation with a negative! "Yes, but you......", (meaning ‘yes you made the right decision but you didn't ..blah blah blah)...' It created a demoralizing environment for those working there, to say the least.
Can you see how this affected customer retention?
The employees were often at odds with each other and the atmosphere was negatively charged. Everyone walked around on pins and needles waiting for the next eruption. In addition, the attitude spilled over into the manager's treatment of patrons. There were repeated customer complaints against the manager regarding attitude, lack of tactful customer service, and blatant rudeness. Many of the complaints were reported to the employees. In other words, instead of going to the top (human resources at the corporate office), the disgruntled customers usually came to the clerks with their grievance. When they were advised to report the incident to home office, they never followed through. The result? Declining customer retention and employee dissatisfaction.
Negative Motivators DO NOT Produce Customer Service Quality!
Here's another one:
If your sales aren't what they want it to be, you'll be fired. In other words, Sell, or else! The old "ultimatum" motivator. Believe it or not, this is workplace bullying! Do you really believe this type of pressure is going to give your employee the right attitude to stimulate good customer service and help customer retention?
Don't threaten to 'take something away' if they don't produce. Example: "Team, if you don't meet your quota by this Friday everyone must work through the weekend, or else..."
Whatever happened to , "We work as a team to meet quota. Let me show you how we can work together to achieve our quotas". I had a manager tell me 'Sell or you're fired' on the day I was hired. (Hired, not fired). I brushed it off as a possible "misunderstanding of meanings". Sure, it was a sales job, hourly wage plus commission. But you don't come at a new employee that way if you expect them to produce! And, get a load of this: this little sales manager was fresh out of college with a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration (I guess that qualified him/her to manage a sales team, duh!), with NO PRIOR SALES experience, other than what she/he received in training. Training for what? The Sales Manager position! This manager turned out to be verbally abusive, as well as incompetent. His demeaning comments disrupted the whole office. I left the company after 6 months when I developed extreme abdominal pains, stress, and paranoia to the point of borderline schizophrenia. The manager was fired a year later. For what? Inability to meet sales standards for the branch!
Don't Use Your Employee to Cover Your Screw-Ups!
Here's another example of a manager who inflicts the "passive aggressive" form of bullying. They ask you to cover blunders in order to save his or her butt. They may point the finger at you to upper management. This is the "management role model" that's supposed to motivate employees to produce? The manager has already ruined your credibility by convincing upper management it was your doing on some major blunders. You were the company "Patsy". And, of course, this affected your work attitude and caused a decline in customer retention. Bingo, the trickle-down affect!
How Do You Treat Your Employees?
Using the "scare tactic" on your employees to stimulate production is subliminal bashing. Actually, it's rather blatant. I want to stress how counterproductive and devaluing it is for employees, as well as the cost to your business to be subjected to this negative type of "motivation".
The root of hostile work environment starts within the management circle and the treatment of the employees. I understand why the quality of customer service and customer retention has decreased so much for some businesses: using the "scare tactic" to motivate your employees doesn't work! Bad management and negative reinforcement have both contributed to the the decline in good customer service.
Have you experienced the 'scare tactic' from a boss to get you to produce?
What is a 'Hostile Work Environment'
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