Comcast Worker’s Story Reminds Us of Why We’re HerePosted September 25th, 2012 by Jody Thompson
You’ve heard of Reddit, right? It’s a social link sharing site with a very active user base, and it’s called the front page of the internet.
Anyway, there was an AMA from a Comcast employee the other day that was called to our attention. And when Cali and I read it (reddit.. see what I did there), it just pretty much blew our minds. It was so familiar, and it’s the kind of thing that drives us to make Results-Only Work Environment the new normal.
When I started working for Comcast I thought it’d be the job of a life time. I love the internet, computers, and love helping people. I’d like to think I’m a really nice computer guy, but that’s not what this place wants.
My hopes have slowly been diminished and crushed as requirements from ‘upper management’ become more strict, and not on promoting people to work harder but discouraging people from being helpful. The red tape that we drown in over the phone gives us the ability to say “Sorry” and if you talk to a good person they’ll actually pray your issue gets fixed as it flows down the rusted, broken down pipe.
Greedy lying manipulative sales people, technicians that blame dispatch and a dispatch that blames technicians, a training department that spends eight weeks on how to setup an account and two weeks on how to fix issues, outsourcing agents (OSRs) that DO read from scripts for out of date billing/repair systems and still manage to mess things up.
The stress from being one of the few in my office that know how to, and actually want to, fix things is over-whelming when it seems there are more rules in place to prevent that than help. I’ve got a teaspoon to poke at an ocean of problems. Feel free to ask me anything.
Many, many people responded to the thread with similar stories. Other Comcast workers chimed in to agree how bad their job sucked, and how policies and workplace culture are incredibly demoralizing.
What I saw is familiar: the employees are desperate to help and truly WANT to provide good customer service, but the work environment does not allow it.
Maybe you remember our post last week, Why Your Company Policies Are Ruining Customer Service? Well, this person is describing exactly what happens, to the extreme, when corporate policy gets so tangled and complicated to point that nobody is focused on results anymore.
What IS the focus in a working environment like the one described above?
The workers are playing a game. They know they can’t really do their jobs well, care for their customers, and focus on results. So, they either become incredibly frustrated, stressed, and demoralized, or they quit.
Of course, many employees can’t just quit because they have no other options for work. They can’t afford to take the time to find a new job, so they’re trapped.
The ones who might have the freedom and ability to easily find a new job, flee as fast as they can. And the company loses another talented member of the team.
What are the managers focused on in this scenario? They too are playing the game of looking busy, micromanaging their team, and getting by. No one wants to take responsibility or blame for problems. Here’s one of the responses from the thread that highlights this issue, from Reddit user Dr_Gats:
I am in the exact same position working for AT&T. As of today I am now the only person in my department, and I watch other departments do nothing but what I like to call “the blame game”, where they try as hard as they can to make problems look like anybody other than themselves are at fault, so therefore they should do no work to help it. Or if they do have to help, it should be considered a life debt to be repayed upon demand.
I am applying for new jobs every day, I am the last of the employees in my office to find solace in another employer, and every day I am here I just want to walk out and never look back.
But then bills.
These people are fleeing as fast as they can to get out of a horrible work environment.
You may say this is only a problem for behemoth organizations that have grown and merged in messy ways. But you’d be wrong.
We see this in the small, medium, and large organizations that we work with. We see it in small business and we see it in big government.
When individual workers at the bottom of the pyramid are powerless, this happens. When no one is focusing on what matters, this happens.
On the other hand, we’ve seen what it’s like on the other side, after a large corporation or a local government has decided to focus on results and implement Results-Only Work Environment. We’ve seen workers take responsibility, make decisions, figure out how to best serve customers. We’ve seen customer service and profitability skyrocket. And best of all, we’ve seen employees become incredibly loyal and turnover decrease when they’re treated like adults.
The Comcast worker’s story doesn’t have to be the story of the way we work.
Do you have any horror stories about work, or ways you’ve seen your organization improve workplace culture? Share them in the comments!
image credit: tanakawho
Cross posted with permission from gorowe.com