Dear Corporate America,
Your employees will begin to resent your "15 minute department coffee breaks" as soon as they learn they were born from spying on work habits, or pulled out of the latest fad HR / Management best seller. This ranks up there with silly morale boosters like "crazy Hawaiian shirt Fridays" for a developer team that is crushing 60 hour weeks and just wants to go home.
Please accept a few thoughts on true lasting employee and corporate culture improvements:
1, end the "Corporate Daycare" mentality. Arriving at 8:05 isn't the end of the world, particularly if that employee is conscientious about staying until 5:10 to compensate. Actually, have you heard of "Flex Time" , at all? Adult professionals shouldn't be shamed for making coffee at 3:30 requiring they leave their desk for 20 minutes.
2, Realize that company-provided smartphones are essentially the same as taking your manager home with you, and stop fucking sending emails after 5pm unless it's an emergency. Stop sending meeting invites at 9pm for 9 AM meetings with the expectation that employees will see it, reply immediately and be present the next morning. Let's just tie this back to "treat people like adult professionals, the way you would like to be treated."
3, Your company suffers failure of imagination and naked greed. Make your employees participants in your companies' success. Ask them for product improvements, new product ideas, and give them more than a plaque or a parking space for coming through with groundbreaking ideas. Give them bonuses. Uncomfortably large bonuses. Watch in amazement as suddenly your employees are transformed from the cave-dwelling Morlocks from HG Wells "The Time Machine" to highly motivated people who will make the company significantly more money.
4, Value for Value. Pay people what they are worth. Treat them with respect. They will work hard for you.
5, There are artists - people who can start with a blank canvas and create a photorealistic painting from their minds' eye. There are people who can't do that, but can take a blank canvas, pencil a grid on it, and methodically reproduce the photorealistic painting with 95% accuracy. This is the difference between Richard Branson and every asshole with an MBA. Far more often than not, the largest source of employees' discontent stems from bad management. Leading and motivating people is a preternatural talent, and the people with that gift are worth sourcing and retaining at all costs. All star leadership will cut your employee churn, boost your productivity, and earn your company more money.
6, Stack Ranking, Six Sigma, when will you people realize that human beings are psychologically complicated animals and applying scientific optimization models originally designed to optimize efficiency in industrial manufacturing environments has little or no value when applied to the talking meat populating your cubicles.
Six Sigma is spectacularly effective at destroying true innovation, creativity and blue-sky thinking, and has no place outside of the factory. I'm glad everyone who attended a training seminar at the airport Hilton immediately ads "Six Sigma Level 3 Grand Wizard" in their Outlook signature to quickly identify those persons I never, ever wish to have a meaningful conversation about new product with, as part of the Six Sigma training is to destroy the part of the brain responsible for creative thinking by way of directed electrical current applied using a special helmet. Other electrodes in the helmet stimulate the part of the brain making you feel incredibly enthusiastic about applying Six Sigma to everything you imagine to be possible.
Stack Ranking is essentially the same cruel process used by 10 year olds choosing teams for kickball at recess, and often with the same level of consideration. The guy answering his company Outlook emails until 10:30 every night, who also pipes up frequently in meetings - albeit absent any meaningful contributions in either - color me surprised if that guy doesn't do well in the soul crushing quarterly Stack Rank.
Corporate America is soulless.