How Not to Appreciate Your Employees


Over the weekend, I saw "Horrible Bosses." Have you seen it? It’s the movie with Charlie Day, Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman and a bunch of other recognizable names who were tricked into being in a horrible movie about employees who want to kill their bosses for a variety of reasons. The reasons are all really the same: They are being verbally abused and regularly manipulated into working long hours and, in general, are just being disrespected by their bosses.

I shut the movie off about 20 minutes in. (Yes, it’s that bad.) But it raises a good point: If this is an exploration of what happens when employees are mistreated, what are the best ways of treating them well? The quickest Band-Aid to slap is an employee recognition program, whether it’s one of those employee-of-the-month walls or -- wait, what else can you do?

Glad you asked. The Nashville Business Journal recently scooped out a handy, quick list of 10 photos with captions to illustrate a couple of great ways to help your worker bees feel less like they’re in a hive and more like they’re flying high. Give them the ability to have a flexible schedule, providing free food occasionally and periodically bringing in a massage therapist to help everyone work out their kinks are all on this list, and rather than just swiping these handful and incorporating them at your business, really ponder it. Meditate on what will actually make an impact in helping your workers feel more at home when they’re at work. Startups are famous/infamous for their kooky perks, so don’t be afraid to experiment, within reason.

Whatever you do, though, read this list from TLNT about two egregiously horrible ways businesses attempted to honor their own. One of the examples chronicles a company that suddenly got a big signing bonus. It decided to distribute the extra money to the people int he company who deserved it the most. How did they decide this? By asking people “to complete forms themselves explaining why [they] thought he or she deserved to receive a piece of the award.”

Bad idea. Everyone thinks they deserve extra money, and if you disagree with any of them, you risk alienate them. Scratch that. You will alienate them.

Hop on over to TLNT to read the other example, which is a real hoot. In a sad way.

David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as an interviewer-writer for Adult Swim, he's also a comedy-writing instructor for Second City. He was the Chicago city editor for The Onion A.V. Club where he provided in-depth daily coverage of this city's bustling arts/entertainment scene for half a decade. When not playing video games for work he's thinking of dashing out to Chicago Diner, Pizano's, or Yummy Yummy. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.

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