Accountability increases ability
“Are you working hard or hardly working?” This question often gets a chuckle. Unfortunately, it’s less humorous as it has become increasingly more difficult to find hard-working help. Many employers are challenged daily by the frustration of lackadaisical attitudes of their personnel, which is seemingly contagious and complicated by the expense of constant turnover.
One corporation in particular was crippled with what could be called a stress-leave epidemic. It began when one sales executive complained to their Human Resources Department that they were under too much pressure to reach their sales goals and consequently their doctor recommended they take some time off for health reasons. The company policy granted six weeks, which coincidentally (and conveniently) started the week before Thanksgiving and ended just after the New Year. This person’s absence increased the responsibilities of the other team members to service that employee’s current customers, which in turn resulted in a domino effect of more so-called necessary stress-leave cases.
As if the impact of this cancerous situation wasn’t bad enough…every position was required to be held and in each case, entire commissions were paid to the original sales person! To add insult to injury, the first offender of this crisis, invited all of their co-workers to a holiday party that admittedly was planned as a result of not working, as it provided adequate time to prepare for such an affair.
The company’s policy could be considered problematic, but in legitimate situations and when not abused, the benefit opportunity is quite generous. It’s the misuse of plan that is extremely disturbing and the lack of conscience on the part of the abusers that is inexcusable.
The most puzzling factor in this scenario is that considering the current state of the economy and the unemployment rate at an all-time high, it would seem that people should be grateful to be employed and therefore perform above and beyond the call of duty to maximize their earnings and secure their position. Instead, the opposite is often true- many choose to hardly work and some even find ways to work the system and essentially not work at all.
Can accountability really be taught? Granted, a small child can certainly learn to take responsibility for their own actions through positive example and consistent discipline. On the other hand, a person of working age needs encouragement as opposed to training.