Employee satisfaction…

We decided to do something different for lunch today. Normally Mom buys sandwiches from Wal-Mart for lunch, but because we had a repairman come in from Sears this morning to look at our upstairs freezer, she didn’t have a chance to go out shopping. So, I made a run to Burger King and brought in burgers. While we were talking at the table, having our Whoppers, the discussion turned to other fast food places, and Mom wondered what happened to a certain manager at the Jack in the Box at Cypresswood and I-45. Dad and I didn’t know what she meant, so she clarified for us.

Apparently a couple of months back, she was in there either picking up or eating lunch when a few people from Jack in the Box corporate came in and had a few words with the manager. Mom was in a position where she could hear the discussion; it turned out that a month or two back, the girl who was supposed to work the drive-thru for the late shift couldn’t make it in. He learned this just as the second-to-last shift girl was coming off-shift. The manager asked her if she could cover the additional shift, and she said yes, so long as she could arrange for someone to watch her baby. (The babysitter was expecting her to be home in 15 minutes.) She managed to make arrangements, and worked the shift.

… then afterwards, without discussing it with her, the manager rearranged the girl’s schedule to make sure she didn’t earn any overtime. The girl was understandably pissed off, and complained. The JitB corporate people were there to tell the manager off, basically saying the girl did the manager a HUGE favor at probable additional expense to herself, and at the very least the manager could have let her have the overtime pay as thanks. The manager, for the life of him, could not understand why the JitB had a problem with what he did.

Mom hasn’t seen him there since. I wonder if he was invited to seek employment elsewhere.

How do I look at situations where employers act like jerks to employees? Well… funny enough, my philosophy matches one I saw in the Disney animated series Tale Spin. (It’s the one with Jungle Book characters working in this 1940’s era seaside port city.) There was one episode where these employees of Shere Khan (a very wealthy and powerful tycoon in the series) were mistreated and overworked in one of his mining operations without his knowledge. When he was alerted to the problems, he arrived and made things right. Now, Shere Khan was as much as villain in the series as anything else; his plots and schemes were as likely to harm Baloo et al as help them. However, this exchange was telling:

The employee who called Khan in advertently: “Wait, you mean you DIDN’T tell the sheriff to mistreat the mineworkers?”
Shere Khan: “My dear, I only desire two things: money and power. Unpresentable employees give me neither.”

I always took that to heart. The employees are the basis of any business. Keep them happy and treat them well, and they’ll do right by you, and maybe even go the extra mile for you. I just wish more businesspeople would learn from that.