Thanksgiving — The History behind this joyous yet anxiety ridden holiday -The Imperfect Org

This is a very important holiday to many people.  For some it is fun and enjoyable time as they gather together, possibly enjoy a game of football and eat until one’s heart is content.

For others who have lost loved ones, have to work (which sucks), endure chaotic family members, or even plan to do some early shopping for Christmas, it’s a cause of anxiety.  

Well in case you love to know the back story about everything, like myself, check out this cool brief synopsis of the holiday.  There are plenty of fun facts that just might surprise you…

 

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To “open or not to open”, that is the question crowding the minds of many businesses and employees plagued with the nightmare of Thanksgiving night and Black Friday. -The Imperfect Org

Whether it is about the bottom line or not, I believe there is something to be said about Mall of America and their courageous decision to not open on Thanksgiving.  Although retailers will have the option to open independently on their own, I love the fact that they have made this about their employees.

“The Bloomington megamall notified employees and tenants Wednesday morning that it is reversing course this year and will close down as many of its operations as possible on the holiday” (Kumar, 2016).  One of the main reasons, to give their employees the opportunity to spend time with their families.

I have often felt bad for employees who had to wake up and drag themselves into stores early on Black Friday (or by 12 am), but the growing trend of opening earlier on Thanksgiving in my eyes is becoming more and more about greed than allowing those employees who prefer to give thanks with family (or not) to decide if they really care to be bothered. Unnecessary stress and anxiety, all for the “almighty dollar”.  What’s your thoughts?  Am I reading too much into this?

Kumar, K. (6th October, 2016).  Star Tribune.  Mall of America takes bold stand by closing on Thanksgiving this year.

“Tips on encouraging complainers to become part of the solution”

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I wonder how many in leadership cringe on the inside, (during meetings) when employees complain of a breakdown in communication and systems, but fail to offer a solution?

I mention this with empathy for leadership who are “expected” to lead and provide a resolution to all systemic issues.

Having experienced my share of working with disgruntled employees (those who are quick to speak out on injustices), I see the need for ideas or resolutions after the feedback is provided.

I am sure a great deal of employees are waiting for their employer or upper management to offer resolution, after all they are the ones in a leadership position, right?, However a company culture that seeks resolution from the frontline employee is in my eyes, wisdom.

Frontline employees speak directly with customers, and since they are the ones that are more likely to discover a trend that is hurting the organization, they should also receive the opportunity to work on a resolution.

Therefore there should be an ongoing and spoken rule that states “if you speak up in meetings to state a problem, you must in the same breath offer a solution”.

In no way is this designed to punish those who present problems, but it sets the tone for problem solving or resolution without creating an atmosphere that lends itself to constant criticism.

Team Work in the making

irysec.vic.edu-- problem solving

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Management and frontline workers receive the opportunity to work together as a team to bring about resolution as opposed to waiting for leaders who are often stopping other organizational wide problems to provide all of the answers.

This also allows for upper management to remain in tune with the feelings and thoughts of its employees and customers (as they will hear firsthand from frontline workers what the organization is up against, while at the same time learning of frequent consumer complaints).

Application in the making

You may wonder, “What is the most efficient way to endorse this sort of change?”

  1. Speak with the employees in meetings and set the expectation – if a problem is mentioned, it must be closely followed by a solution (from that particular employee).
  2. After the problem at hand is mentioned (with a possible resolution), if indeed that resolution is manageable and cost effective, place the employee on a team that is designed to conquer that problem.
  3. The employee is now expected to collect data to confirm that indeed the problem is a new or reoccurring trend.
  4. Once the employee collects the data, that particular employee will now be expected to relay this information back to the team and management for further plans to rectify the issue.

It may not be the answer to solve all organization wide problems but it’s a damn good way to get the conversation started.

The next step will be for management to trust the expertise of frontline employees to activate resolution.  This has the opportunity to provide more fulfillment for the front-line employee, while retaining satisfied customers.

What tips do you have to offer to bridge the gap between frontline employees and management?

“Hierarchy structured insurance company Aetna, cause organizations, and pharmacies to suffer in their lines of communication” -The Imperfect Org

2017, January 1st to be exact and I called the Walgreen’s pharmacy to check on my husband’s medication.  We had been trying to refill it since a week and a half ago.  After countless communication with my doctor’s office and pharmacy, I discovered that my insurance company, Aetna can no longer refill his medication (nor mine) at Walgreen’s.  We can now only use CVS to refill prescriptions or we must refill them through a mail order.

CVS is not an option, as it is miles away from my home.  Walgreen’s is less than a mile.  How long will we have to wait for the medication if we order through the mail? Will my husband’s health suffer or deteriorate in the meantime? Is it already possibly suffering since it has taken way longer than expected to receive his refill?

The most disturbing piece about this is that the doctor’s office and the pharmacy had no idea what was going on.  I am not faulting them at all.  Whom I fault is Aetna for not adequately updating or notifying the doctors’ offices, nurses, and pharmacist who had actual scripts in their office waiting to be refilled. After about the fifth time I called I finally spoke with a rep and pharmacist who called the insurance company and was notified of the refill changes.  The pharmacist was just as shocked as I was about the ordeal. The pharmacist even tried to get Aetna to approve a few pills for my husband, just to hold him through until we could obtain the new prescription from CVS. Aetna said this could not be allowed.

Yes, it was open enrollment at my place of employment in November, but none of the seminars that I attended from Human Resources department bothered to include in their webinars and seminars that the way in which we obtained our medications could possibly change. Perhaps they did not know. I have checked my insurance companies site and I do not see updates regarding this recent change. Because it is the holiday and Sunday, they are closed and I cannot communicate with them myself. Frustrating.

My husband and I, as well as my place of employment, doctors’ office, and the pharmacies that we choose to obtain our medications through are customers of the insurance company. Communication is very much owed to the pharmacies as it is the doctor’s offices.  Despite how large these insurance companies are, and no matter how far up the corporate ladder or how deep the political affiliations; the people down on the lower frontlines should know how their jobs are being impacted by any updates to policy.  To bother not to communicate with all necessary parties is to leave many, as in our case, perplexed and inconvenienced.

And what’s up with the monopoly on prescriptions?  What sort of partnership or deal has CVS made with Aetna? Is it cheaper for the insurance companies? If so, what about the possible inconvenience to the person that needs the medication.  Some do not have a CVS nearby and not to insult the postal service, but some of us cannot trust our “friendly” mailman or mail woman or our neighbors for that matter.

So, note to you and to my future self, after open enrollment or updates to your insurance please make sure that you are not being limited or directed only to one particular pharmacy.  To not know this, is to potentially risk the health of you or your dear loved one due to poor lines of communication.

Should I or Should I not apply for that line leadership position? Office Rant … -The Imperfect Org

 

Should I or Should I not apply for that line leadership position? Office Rant …

I have had the pleasure of working in an office in which management had to plead and beg for individuals to apply for a line leader position.
I can’t lie, I was usually up for applying for leadership positions, but this was one that somehow lacked the esteem and luster that I usually find with such positions.  Maybe it was not the position, maybe it was me.
If it were at least 8 years ago, I would have jumped at the opportunity.  However these days, having a different perspective on organizations, I simply passed it up.
But I could not help, but answer why management had to plead for people to apply?
There used to be a time where this position would have been viewed as a position of power.  Well, not anymore.  Having seen this organization in practice, I have noticed trends of employees becoming more educated and requiring less stress in their life, so why place oneself into such positions when 99% of the time, you will do most of the work, and this hard work does not pay off nor lead to further promotion up the corporate ladder?
No they don’t always hire a person for a management position because they worked on the team as a leader.  So is it really worth it? Will this position translate as success in my next job opportunity, or is it just one more thing that takes my time and adds unnecessary stress?

The true thoughts of Call Center Employees -The Imperfect Org

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The Imperfect Organization: The true thoughts of Call Center Employee’s — Is this a case of low morale?

The true thoughts of Call Center Employee’s — Is this a case of low morale?

 
There are jacked up people everywhere in life.  You now have a greater platform to be exposed to the likes of “call center employees”.
Check out this link on what some call center people really think about you.  Can you empathize with them? Would you say things could be different if the employee’s morale was in a better place?

American Sales? Elements of Customer service. -The Imperfect Org

 

I walked up to the customer service counter (to return a glowing Halloween decoration that had old rusted batteries and did not work) with my husband.  Once there I quickly observed that the main cashier was in the process of training a new employee on how to complete a return.
The middle-aged trainer seemed intent on communicating all the necessary details on how to accurately process the return.  However, the early adolescent trainee did not seem as enthused.   This is how it unfolded.
Cashier training new cashier.
The new cashier stares at my husband and I more than paying attention to the trainer.
I think… “Great, you’re going to go far”…
This all took place as we settled the return and she continued to stare without a smile, and without uttering a single “thank you”.
More and more I am seeing that this is sadly the norm.  What is going on with the state of our job market and customer service?