Human Capital Over Process Improvement: The Cost of Being a Sweatshop

Human Capital Over Process Improvement: The Cost of Being a Sweatshop

Agile Pyramid of Trust

It’s a well known fact that retaining top talent is much cheaper than having to constantly pay recruiters to fill your human pipeline. Once a company becomes knowns as a revolving door, or a soul-killer it is very hard for a company to turn that perception around. No one wants to work for a sweatshop unless they are broke and can’t find another option. Do you think they will be promoting their new role and love of company if the atmosphere is toxic? Not likely. Even if they are PAID social media advocates, the truth is much harder to cover up or spin.

I’ve worked for a few soulless companies in my past. And each one of them are companies that have the local or national recognition of being an awful place to work. “Unless you need the money.”

I’ve been walked out of a few of the prettiest offices ever, because I refused to go along with little white lies. The trend is towards treating your employees with respect and autonomy. But there are still the companies, you know the ones, who’s job listings show up every couple months. If it was such an awesome place to work, why the continuous need to fill and re-fill the same position?

So what is so difficult about building a culture of trust within a company? What can make teams within the same company fight against one another rather than cooperate. The first time I realized there were people on “my team” who actually wanted my project to fail so their project would get more attention, I was a bit overwhelmed. Of course, I’d heard of this problem, but until my own manager dropped a bomb on a project “we” were supposed to be working on together, I had not experienced such a clear example of infighting.

The book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable – by Lincioni, is one of the best resources I have ever read about the subject. His book on Silos is good too, but it was really the concept of TRUST that changed my perspective.

Here’s the premise. Trust is the basis of all working relationships. Either you have it or you don’t. Teams that don’t trust each other fail. Teams that can develop trusting relationships thrive and succeed. If you assume that everyone “wants to succeed” on their own projects, then building trust with other’s is a core function of successful teamwork, and really successful leadership.

But when a company doesn’t trust it’s employees, the trust between individuals is often compromised and more difficult to establish. But trust does happen within toxic company environments. You know the situation, you meet a “friend” along the path. A manager or co-worker who you can trust implicitly. These are the members of your team who can help build a foundation of success.

Maybe more companies will take Apple’s example and begin to empower their employes rather than regulated and punish them. Imagine where Google would be today, if they didn’t have their “work on your own dream project” initiative. And imagine anyone wanting to put in nights and weekends to finish a project, when the moral is constantly hammered down by management’s unilluminated dictations.

@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth) permalink:

Reference: Sweatshop Wikipedia

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Most people don’t really enjoy being mean; they do it because they can’t help it. (from Graham’s Hierarchy of Disagreement)

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