When executives fail their frontline warriors

16 Nov, 2023 - 09:11 0 Views
When executives fail their frontline warriors

The Sunday Mail

Cresencia Marjorie Chiremba

“When the customer comes first, the customer will last” —  Robert Half

IN the gleaming towers of corporate headquarters, where mahogany desks meet floor-to-ceiling windows, a different drama unfolds.

It is not the boardroom battles or PowerPoint presentations that steal the spotlight: it is the human cost.

Meet the executives —  the architects of profit margins; the visionaries who steer the ship.

They saunter through marble-floored lobbies, their tailored suits whispering success.

But, behind these polished exteriors lies a truth they would rather keep hidden.

They are the ones who bark orders at the receptionist, demanding their soy latte or cappuccino with extra foam, while ignoring her worn-out uniform.

They are the ones who slash budgets, leaving the human resources manager to deliver the news of lay-offs with trembling hands.

And when the janitorial staff dares to ask for better working conditions, they dismiss it as mere noise.

Instead, they want the unhappy staff to be thankful that they have a job because “there are many out there without a job”, even if it means under poor working conditions.

These executives do not just short-change workers: they undermine their humanity.

Picture this scene: A late-night email from the CEO lands in the inbox of a junior analyst.

The subject line reads “Urgent”.

Heart racing, the analyst opens it, only to find a barrage of criticism in red font.

The executive’s words cut through the screen, leaving wounds that will not heal with a simple “delete”.

And what about the company retreats?

Those lavish getaways where executives sip champagne by infinity pools, while the IT team troubleshoots server crashes back at the office.

The same executives who preach “team spirit” are often the ones who skip the team-building exercises, citing “urgent meetings”.

But it is not just about rudeness —  It is about the systemic neglect.

The executives who cut healthcare benefits, leaving the single mother in accounting to choose between her child’s medication and rent.

The ones who turn a blind eye to harassment complaints, allowing toxic managers to thrive.

In this article, I pull back the velvet curtain.

I expose the executives who dine at fine restaurants, drive the latest top-of-the-range vehicles and award themselves hefty perks while their employees subsist on meagre salaries that are not enough to last even a week of that paid month.

I will dissect the impact of their actions on their frontline workers —  the fuel attendants, the call agents, the warehouse workers, the healthcarers, among others.

So, dear reader, fasten your seatbelt.

I am about to navigate the turbulence of corporate power dynamics.

When executives fail their staff, the ripple effect reaches far beyond the boardroom.

This leaves a lasting impression on both employees and customers.

Thus, when executives fail to support their staff, the repercussions reverberate through the entire organisation, ultimately impacting customer service.

 Let us delve into these consequences:

1)   Employees morale and engagement

Executives who prioritise short-term gains over employee well-being create an environment of distrust and disengagement. Overworked and undervalued staff lose motivation, leading to sub-par performances. Disheartened employees are less likely to go the extra mile for customers, affecting service quality.

  2)   High turnover rates

When executives fail to address staff concerns, employee turnover increases. New hires lack experience, resulting in inconsistent service quality. Frequent staff changes disrupt customer relationships and familiarity.

 3)   Employee empowerment

Executives who empower staff foster a culture of ownership and initiative. Empowered employees take pride in their work, resulting in better service. Conversely, disempowered staff feel like mere cogs in the machine.

  4)   Quality of service

Understaffed or underappreciated workers struggle to maintain high service standards. Patience wears thin, leading to curt responses and less personalised service. Customers notice the decline in attentiveness and responsiveness.

  5)   Innovation and creativity

Executives who neglect frontline workers stifle innovation. Frontline staff often have valuable insights into customer needs. A lack of creativity limits the organisation’s ability to adapt and improve.

  6)   Customer perception

Customers perceive a company’s values through its treatment of employees. Rude executives or neglected staff signal a lack of empathy.

  7)   Consistency

Well-supported staff consistently deliver better service. Inconsistences arise when executives fail to address issues promptly. Customers appreciate reliability and predictability.

Therefore, executives who neglect and disregard their staff inadvertently short-change customers. Prioritising employee welfare directly impacts the quality of service experienced by patrons.

Ultimately, both workers and customers benefit.

 *Cresencia Marjorie Chiremba is a marketing enthusiast with a strong passion for customer experience. For comments, suggestions and training, she can be reached at [email protected] or at +263 712 979 461, 0719 978 335


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