October 04, 2005

This is not good.

Upper Management dropped a bomb at work today that has a 25% of the office happy, 70% pissed and 5% (Management, including myself) scrambling to repair the damage. I don’t know if they didn’t think this through completely or if it was just decided, we would do damage control after the fact. Either way no matter how you look at it, the timing was horrible.

It was decided that they where going to give the Customer Service Reps in our company a merit promotion. Meaning they move up one pay grade. As part of this they are creating a new position, Customer Service Technician. We currently have technicians, but now the CSRs will be the same level as them, so they are creating a special position for the Technicians in the Customer Service arena. The current technicians in customer service we have will need to apply for their jobs. However, they are not guaranteed to get the position. If they don’t, then the company will find them another position of the same level, which probably means they will become CSRs.

This has my current technicians all worried about what is going to happen to them because they don’t want to go back to being CSRs. The other technicians that aren’t in the customer service arena are pissed because they basically feel that are being under appreciated and that they did all this work to be promoted only to have it negated by this change. The CSRs will be the same level as the regular Technicians.

The rest of the employees are under the impression that not only are they not appreciated, but that the company doesn’t care about them. From talking to many of them, it is clear they don’t understand what is going on. It’s not that they company doesn’t appreciate them, the company is admitting that they were under appreciating the Customer Service arena and is trying to make up for it. The company decided that for the amount and type of work that the CSRs do, they were not being justly compensated. IE they were overworked and underpaid for the demands put upon them. People just don’t understand that. I happen to agree with corporate’s assessment, to a point. They may have encompassed positions that didn’t warrant the change.

But there is a problem with corporate’s plan. They didn’t include everyone in the Customer Service arena. The support staff that assists the CSRs and technicians was completely and utterly ignored. Their peers in the different arenas have to know a fraction of what they do AND they aren’t required to know as many systems as the support staff in customer service. They basically do twice the work as their peers, yet are paid the same. Three of my minions fall into this category and to be honest, they have every right to be pissed off. Prior to the CSR’s getting this promotion they didn’t really mind, now they do.

Morale has bottomed out in every area outside the CSR arena. To make matters worse the CSRs are loudly and tactlessly talking about their “raises” to everyone. This is only pissing off the others. Most of the other management is basically telling others to “deal with it.” I however am trying to do damage control. A pissed employee is a bad employee. I’m trying to sooth those that I can in hopes of not taking a production hit today. However, that is not looking too good for me. As for my three minions that received the short end of the stick, I feel very bad for them. I’m trying to see if I can’t get this rectified, however it doesn’t look like I’m going to have any success.

I just hope tempers cool off here shortly. There’s been too much talk of quitting and the refusal to do tasks by the employees. If they don’t we may end up doing a lot of training here in the next couple of months.

Posted by Contagion in Tales from the Work Place at October 4, 2005 04:14 PM | TrackBack

This completely sucks.

I worked for a company that regularly screwed over employees. I'll tell you... after the initial anger wore off, it always helped a little to know I worked for a good guy who appreciated me and had my back, even if the company didn't.

For what it's worth.

Posted by: Bou at October 4, 2005 08:16 PM

I worked for a company similar to yours for years, and we had a change very much like this. Outrage, anger, "I'm gonna quit". It was ugly.

But it calmed down. Basically because most folks soon realized there ain't alot of choices out there. That is the same situation today.

I'm very impressed that you care enough about your people to try and help. That speaks a lot about the man/manager you are. Good luck. It'll just take time and paitence.

Posted by: Tammi at October 5, 2005 06:42 AM

Your direct reports will respect you more for going to the mat for them. It's good to know that the boss has your back...

Posted by: spurs at October 5, 2005 12:23 PM

Any decision that starts with "It was decided" is bad news. And any time a company asks current employees to "reapply" for their own positions, that's like shooting them. Everyone knows it stinks, and it's almost always followed by demotions or firings -- but they're not called firings, they just create new positions and don't fill them with the same people.

I can understand the employees' pain. It's going to take awhile to fix this one, good luck.

Posted by: Ogre at October 5, 2005 01:18 PM