Employers - beware that a single act or statement can immediately, and sometimes irrevocably, damage your staff's attitude and morale.
I've witnessed my share of moments, but below I've taken some of the best from a variety of Reddit users:
I work in a big corporate building. The same older lady came by everyone’s desk towards the end of the day to collect the trash. Just the sweetest lady ever and every time she’d walk to my desk she’d give me a big smile and ask me how my day was and chat for a minute as she got my trash (usually I’d dump it in for her). I had some rough days but she has a way to cheer me up and send me home on a higher note. I know I’m not the only one either.
So then a few weeks back our work implemented a new policy to ‘cut down on trash usage’. It’s no longer allowed to have a trash bin at our desk and we have to walk across the room and use the community trash to throw anything away. Not a huge deal but the real reason they did it is so they can cut down on cost... ie the cleaning crew.
Sad to say that I haven’t seen Sharon since.
Boss Pitched a sales incentive trip to Cancun if the team hit the goal. My team exceeded the goal, and then they cancelled the trip. 2 people quit, I accepted a position with their main competitor, and less than a year later, they closed in bankruptcy. Karmas a beach.
This school wanted to switch to Chromebooks. So what did they do? One summer while teachers weren't working, they removed every single Windows station and replaced them with Chromebooks to be issued to teachers. They were told to "figure it out".
When teachers came up and asked how they could teach Photoshop, programming, AutoCAD 3d modeling, etc., admin basically googled their program name plus "Chromebook extension" and told them "see? There's an extension for it and it works!" I don't think I have to add that it did not work.
They ended up bringing back the desktops for most teachers.
Put up a poster that said "Complaining is like vomitting. You feel better but everyone around you feels sick.". The morale was already bad but it was just a shitty way to take a hit at upset employees rather than do anything positive.
Small business. 20 employees +/-. Boss made a big speech about austerity measures and no raises this year. A week and a half later he drives up in a brand new Silverado with all the bells and whistles. Expensed to the business of course. He would hate to have to pay taxes on those profits. One of the less subtle members of the staff took a literal shit in front of his office door.
I once had a retail manager who sent out a memo that we worked so hard and did such a great job this month that she gets a bonus. That went over like a lead balloon.
I told the hiring manager that I was disappointed in one of his hires because he knew literally NOTHING about our job and asked him “doesn’t that cheapen my knowledge and expertise?”
His response: “Well, let’s be honest, you job doesn’t really need all that, does it?”
There were four other people my level, with varying fields of expertise, at that meeting, and it got real quiet after that.
Former teacher. The administrators at my school were usually pretty chill, but had a habit of randomly coming up with minor rules that they would enforce for us (male teachers had to wear ties even on jeans day, etc.). Overall it wasn’t bad, except for the time an administrator made a crucial mistake... they banned staff from drinking coffee in front of students.
Now if you’ve never worked in a school, you’d think this isn’t a big deal. When you spend nearly 100% of your day in front of students, it definitely is a big deal.
First we tried to find any loophole we could. Energy drinks? Banned the next week. Tea? Banned two days later. It was chaos.
Eventually, we realized they couldn’t fire an entire school’s worth of teachers and aides, so we ended up doing the one thing that private schools fear most: we formed a union.
Realistically, it was more of a weird pseudo-union focused specifically on civil disobedience regarding the coffee issue, but it ruffled feathers nonetheless. The administrators caved to our “demands”, allowed us to drink coffee again, and even bought each of us a reusable coffee mug as a gesture of goodwill.
And that’s the story of how a handful of school administrators almost accidentally created a teachers union over a complete non-issue.
Had a boss everyone loved, then she got transferred to another store and the new guy that replaced her decided the schedule that we'd all gotten used to needed to be "shaken up". He posted the next week schedule that was completely different than it had been under the previous manager, got a bunch of complaints from people saying they can't work x days or y times and it SEEMED he was receptive since he took that schedule down. Then suddenly BAM, he just reposted the same exact schedule and said fuck everyone.
Oh, we had some people calling in sick from time to time under the old manager, but this new manager has pretty much half his crew every single day calling out because of his shitty tactics.
Here's the first thing to learn about being a good manager...you don't need to "shake things up" for people to be better workers. You don't need to "put your mark" on anything if it's working just fine the way it was.
Told a bunch of people they were going to be promoted to get us to do extra work, no one got promoted. I basically did her job for a month. Me and three of my co-workers quit and she got fired a few months later.
I have 2!
Company 1: Cancelled the Christmas party and Christmas bonuses for the whole company because we "didn't have the money for it." I found out later the CEO and the CTO used company funds to take a week-long ski vacation in Whistler instead of doing something nice for the employees. You better believe I spread that evidence aroujnd the office.
Company 2: It's not one specific incident, but my current company in the last couple years switched from guaranteed permanent employment for anyone who worked there long enough to a system of permanent contract labor for a huge section of their workforce. Rumblings of unionization have started amongst the contract workers...
One of our senior employees asked for a raise because it had been a few years since he had had one and he was doing a great job. Management reviewed his file, realized they could pay one of the new guys half of the salary of experienced guy, fired senior guy, promoted junior dude. They weren't aware of the warehouse dynamic and soon found out that no one liked or wanted to work for or with junior guy, morale dropped a lot. A week later, senior guy committed suicide. Once the warehouse was informed/invited to the funeral, morale reaaalllly dropped and eventually junior guy became so ineffective trying to run the shop that he was fired and the next senior guy just kind of took over without management doing anything about it everything began to run as it had before senior guy was fired.
To cut costs, they started a policy that only certain departments had internet access - it basically started a class system that bred resentment across departments, and caused an exodus from the non-internet teams.