The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves

This week, the CEO of online retailer Wayfair told his employees they need to work harder, put in longer hours, and avoid laziness to help the company be more successful.

As a retailer of home goods, Wayfair did extremely well during the pandemic, but has lost money and market share over the last year. Now the company is profitable again, but it wants more output from its employees.

In a business environment with only 3.7% unemployment where many businesses struggle to find qualified workers to fill positions, one wonders how employees will accept a message like this.

It’s no secret that it’s a lot easier (and less costly) to grow talent internally than to be constantly replacing employees who leave because they don’t feel valued or appreciated (or properly compensated).

Most employees really don’t want the hassle of leaving employers and having to find another job. But people also don’t like being held responsible for things that happen outside their control and getting the short end of the stick when businesses need to find someone to take the blame for less-than-stellar results.

You can take this tack for awhile, but here’s the problem: It’s impossible to have happy, dedicated, loyal customers when you have unhappy, frustrated, disengaged employees. That’s not news, but somehow the message hasn’t gotten through to some executives. Must be the employees’ fault.

Check out our  marketing leadership podcasts and  the video trailer for my book, Marketing Above the Noise: Achieve Strategic Advantage with Marketing that Matters.
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