A Common Problem with Corporate Culture

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Robyn Bolton offers a post that illustrates a common issue in today’s workplaces.

Some conversations stick with you for a long time.

Some conversations take your breath away the moment they happen.

A few weeks ago, I had one that did both.

“Everyone is focused on ‘humanizing’ work,” my client said. “I wish people would de-humanize work. I would love nothing more than to be treated like a line of code or a piece of equipment. We treat our code and equipment better than we treat our people.

When a piece of equipment doesn’t work, we send in teams of people to fix it. We study what went wrong, we fix the error, and we take action to make sure it doesn’t happen again. We don’t expect a line of code to work in every operating system, to be able to do everything in every context. We know that we need to adapt it for iOS or Android.”

As I picked my jaw up off the floor and put my eyes back in my skull, she continued.

“But people…when a person is struggling, we don’t send anyone to help. We don’t ask why they’re struggling or study the situation or take action so that no one else experiences the same problem. We expect the person to either fix their own problem or to leave.

We expect everyone to be able to work in every situation and when there’s a mismatch, we expect the more junior person to ‘expand their toolkit’ and ‘learn to work with other styles’ or to leave.

“If we treated our people the way we treat our products, our people would be so much happier, and we’d be so much more successful as a company.

 

Key points include:

  • People vs. products
  • Malfunction and communication
  • Corporate culture

 

Read the full article, The Case for De-Humanizing Work, on Medium.