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The Great Disconnect

Time to read – 45 seconds

WE have just been away for a week in the Lake District. Very relaxing very beautiful and some time spent with our lovely son.

We enjoyed a number of meals out and shopping trips as we got to grips with Christmas fast approaching.

The service industry is a growing one as we are buying less stuff in person, and in general – we have less ornaments, CDs, books etc and will be spending more and more on leisure activities where customer service is everything.

And what a difference we found in customer service from place to place. Uniformly poor in one hotel – a lack of training? – very different between different waiters that evening in a restaurant – a difference in attitude? – and overall, while we did receive fantastic service from many people, we concluded that a large part of poor service shows a disconnect between doing the job and receiving the pay.

When your manager gave you that small brown envelope with your pay in at the end of the week (if you are old enough to remember that – I received mine every week at Butlins!) – you had a very real sense of getting something in return for the job you had done and as your manager was giving it to you, how well your manager had seen you performing those tasks.

Now, it’s sometimes as if when you get a job you sign up for money to be deposited in your bank account at regular intervals and what you do in your job every day is a completely separate activity. So the service you deliver to a customer is irrelevant – you just turn up to your place of work and hey presto money appears.

This disconnect also applies in the office where people on much higher rates of pay than waiters and retail assistants are privileged to be able to get a coffee whenever they want, go outside for a smoke, and will think nothing of spending up to half an hour chatting about something social without making the connection they are getting paid £x for that time by the organisation.

If we were all to imagine being handed our money every ½ hour for the job we had just done how much would that change our approach and our effort, attitude and delivery?

As leaders it is up to us to lead by example and to give the feedback that makes the connection, between money and day to day work, as real as it can be.

With my love and best wishes.

David X


10 Responses to The Great Disconnect

  1. Our firm has recently started time-recording, which makes us account for how we use our time during the working day. Whilst it does feel like ‘Big Brother’ and needs sensitive application, as a tool to enhance productivity – to make people think about how their time is used – it has some merits.

    We lawyers in private practice do not generally have that disconnect between our jobs and getting paid each month – there is an awareness that how we treat people affects to what degree they are willing to pay the fees and that we need to both carry out the task of law and keep the client engaged in the process.
    If we do not have clients that pay, then we are not going to have a job for long – a simple business fact.
    We know that doing our best to make clients feel they have been treated fairly is essential in the long run.

    In doing that, we do not want to deliver a plate of slops, when we could aspire to Michelin-level freshness and presentation.

    We want to do business with people we like and people who are satisfied are more inherently likeable.
    Business does not need to be complicated.

  2. Very well said Lewis.
    I particularly don’t like the thought that people are allowed to go for a smoke for up to two hours a day without this being recorded.
    Perhaps all the non smokers in the office should be given the same luxury of going out, just for a chat perhaps, or to socialise, without this being held against them.
    But then nobody would get any work done.
    it’s a contentious issue and grates with me.

  3. The service industry will always throw up anomalies.
    people react differently to different situations whether they are trained or now.
    It’s life.

  4. People should be trained properly for those type of jobs.
    If you have to deal with customers, in the front line, you should be expected to give a certain level of service.

  5. Training comes at a cost.
    Also, at the expense of actually getting the job done.
    Sometimes, just being there on the job can give you the experience you need.
    Of course, it helps to know the basics!

  6. Are you kidding David? If we’re relying on pay to motivate staff, then we’ve already failed. Pay should be a hygiene factor – and not the key motivator. What are trying to do – bribe human pride out of people?

    Evidence: Peter Scholtes “Leader’s Handbook” and Alfie Kohn’s “Punished by Rewards”.

    Worse still are the corrosive incentive pay schemes that reward nothing but system-created luck!

    I will agree with you on the Disconnect in relation to equality of pay and fair treatment through the hierarchy, though. For example, companies where there are core working hours…but they don’t (miraculously) apply to the senior management…

    It’s about equity and fairness – not electronic bank transfers.

    Your ‘evidence’ doesn’t demonstrate causality… in fact, you don’t even really know how they are paid. What’s with the sudden decline into sloppy science, David? Goldacre would have this article for breakfast!


    E. x

  7. Money is not the great motivator. Never has been.
    Job satisfaction must come first. Not much fun when you are making a lot of money and not enjoying it.

  8. What a great range of comments, thank you all – the disconnect I wrote about is not just a disconnect between great service and money, it is between great service and pride, reward and recognition. Emma, I don’t know the “evidence” you quote – if what you say is true that money is not the ultimate motivator then at the very least people don’t realise what they are being paid to do! If some people’s pay was doubled on condition that they gave great service I am certain that would change things. It’s that link between attitude/actions/service to rewards and fulfillment that has to be forged. And money is as good a place as any, to start.

  9. Pay is only part of the reason for going to work, surely it is the main one though.
    Most people go to work because they have to, to earn money.
    So that is the prime motivation before they get there and then the other rules follow.
    Of course, job satisfaction and being part of a team, and all the worthwhile aspects of being one as a group matter.
    Would those people care about all of that if they weren’t actually there to get paid, as much as they can possibly earn?

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