By Spencer Yarnell Head of Spreading the Herd Word
I stumbled upon an old Maclean’s article this week about public servants and their job satisfaction and it struck me.
The gist of the article was that public servants were some of the most dissatisfied employees in spite of their enormous benefits and pensions. The writer interviewed experts who hypothesized that this was due to a lack of impact or the fact that “for a policy analyst to get his killer idea to the deputy minister or the minister, it takes months to never.”
Bureaucracy often creates a culture of inaccessibility. In defense of such a structure it does protect the time of top executives from being wasted by matters better handled by others but what do we sacrifice? As Maclean’s hypothesized we lose the ideas of our employees, and employees without the opportunity to innovate may as well be robots.
Employers often miss the concept that employees, among being treated well, and compensated fairly, really do want to feel like they’re contributing something. Money is worth much more if you’ve worked hard for it or you’ve accomplished something and that sense of accomplishment is essential to job satisfaction. Thus when a person feels as though their ideas have no voice, that they’re just toiling and punching the clock, this person becomes dissatisfied with their accomplishments and their job. Dissatisfied employees can never mean a good thing for a company. When workplace bureaucracy both suppresses innovation and disgruntles employees it can seriously hold a business back.
Here’s the thing, for small companies the president or executives do have time to talk to all employees, but in large companies bureaucracy is necessary. The key becomes managing that bureaucracy so that good ideas and innovation can still make it to the top from unlikely sources. It’s doable and you have to take active measures to support it. Look at Domino’s Pizza. A company known for getting ideas from their shift workers or customers rather than their executives. They often run promotions to support this very idea, see the article attached here for more info on that.
How does information/innovation flow through your company? Do you think bureaucracy is a necessary evil? Do you think bureaucracy is evil at all?