CMU School of Drama

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

What Your Employees Are Begging You For

Pro Sound Web: The last few months in my little corner of the AV industry has been met with some significant upheaval.

At last count seven AV compatriots had lost their job or quit with no prospects on the table.

The narcissistic part of me would claim that I was bad luck, but that’s just silly. Right?

8 comments:

Kelly Simons said...

When I was browsing through the articles I clicked on this one because of the eye-catching title. I thought it was going to be about some kind of employee/ employer argument about horrible working conditions. Instead, the article regurgitated the same facts that all young people looking for work know: jobs need to be challenging and interesting. If an employee is interested in their work they will obviously work harder because they’re more invested in their work. The quote: “An engaged, valued, and challenged worker will energize you and the rest of the staff and make coming to work a joy” is so apparent it didn’t even need to be written. The author tried to make this article cater to an AV professional, but is really a blanket statement that all businesses should strive for. I found this article to be unnecessary and redundant to the point that it probably shouldn’t even have been published

Vanessa Ramon said...

This article reminds me a lot of the assembly line method and its flaws. Sure, it produces persistent work that each person is specially trained in, but it dehumanizes the work of the employee and significantly diminishes the moral of the work space. Sure, a lot of us would love to get paid for doing something that was really easy for us, but I think everyone would eventually get tired and uninterested in the task. If a person really enjoys the field in which they work, I think they would be completely wiling to challenge themselves and continue to grow. I think its cool that this article doesn't aim their lesson to the population looking for jobs, but employers. To get a person interested in working for their company, they need to explain what the employee would be getting out of the job too. I think that this is a viewpoint that we don't often talk about but I definitely think would generate interest for the company. You can apply this principle to really any business or organization. I know when I was looking for schools, I looked at schools where I thought I would be challenged to work hard and grow. The schools that do challenge their students in this way tend to be the most successful and that also applies to businesses and organizations. Of course, there are a lot of people out their who would rather just sit back their whole lives and "get by", but for those who want to improve, grow, and truly succeed I think that this mind set is certainly one for the world to pay attention to.

Jacob Wesson said...

I agree with Kelly that this article shares a lot with similar articles about why there are mass exoduses from fields of work: people don't feel challenged. We spend so much of our time in school being consistently challenged and prepared for every scenario but what happens when we start to see the same scenario over and over again? It's not particularly surprising that people try to get out of monotony, since humans don't want to feel stuck in a loop, and, if they do, they will do anything they can to get past it, AV industry or otherwise. I don't necessarily agree with the author that highlighting the interesting jobs a company has done will increase the likelihood of an employee staying on board, since those are typical one-off gigs that aren't really indicative of the day to day workings of the company. Being engaged and being challenged aren't necessarily the same thing. By getting the opportunity to show off your skills, you will be engaged, but if that's not interesting to you, then you won't feel challenges. It's more important that people in the field have a cogent handle of the work they are getting into as opposed to expecting to be working the super bowl every week and being upset that they end up at Bar Mitzvahs.

Samantha Brown said...

I think it is very important to do work that excites you and challenges you. If you are doing an easy job your whole life, you will never grow and it will get boring very quickly. People are always looking to go farther in life and improve upon themselves. The only way to improve in something is to be challenged and face something new. If it is a new thing then there is a very good chance you do not exactly know how to complete the task. You will begin to problem solve and use other resources that will help you figure out your main goal. When people are forced to think a little harder and out side of the box, they produce better work because they probably thought of something that they never would have before to solve that problem. Challenging a group of people will cause them all to bounce different ideas off each other until they create a better product. If workers are receiving positive results they will be happier and enjoy their jobs more.

Annie Scheuermann said...

I really hope that any job I work is challenging and engaging. The author seems quiet naive to believe otherwise. Having many of your workers quit and leave is a huge sign that something is not right in the work they are doing. I think that their are many employers who could certainly benefit from this lesson, but I think its something they are all aware of, just chose the amount of time and energy they expend on it. It is human nature to want to feel valuable, and for any adult to to at the point where they are running a company with employees I am really shocked they didn't already know how to interact with your employees well. Reflecting on different people I've worked under, I certainly thrive more in an environment where I feel valuable and comfortable, on the opposite spectrum I think that the bosses that ignore you or have no interest in you are far worse than the ones who are hard and aggressive. I really hope the author has changed his tactics.

Liz He said...

As the employer or the owner of an enterprise, you will not only set strategy and direction for the whole company, you need to also create and maintain a creative and healthy culture for the employees who invest their. To quote from the author: "what sort of company do they want to work with, what environment makes them thrive?"
Salaries are initial "baits", but in longer term, it is the "work-style" that attracts people and makes them willing to stay. Employees are significantly affected by the company culture. If the company is where everyone is simply doing the same thing over and over from 24/7, where bosses do not value work done by the subordinates, chances are the dullness, lifelessness and passiveness will eventually drive the highly skilled and ambitious employees away. Keeping people from leaving is a really important part of employer's duties. Cultivating a work environment where employees are challenged (within limits though) motivated, valued and rewarded is hugely beneficial for the business. This is why it's called the art of leadership, because managing to create a healthy culture is a really nuanced work that requires constant attention and care.

Helena Hewitt said...

I think people really shine when they are challenged by and also believe in the work they are doing. I think feeling accepted, valued, but also knowing you have room to make mistakes, ask questions, and learn are extremely important. But I want to focus on this idea of challenging your employees. No one can say that the beginning of sophomore year is not challenging, but instead of feeling motivated and inspired by the challenge I know many people feel stressed and exhausted. I think a lot of it has to do with a sense of a larger purpose. When I get to work on our shows and I can see the elements coming together and I know the value of what I am contributing to the larger whole. But for the class projects I don’t always know what they are doing for me in the long run, and even when I do understand it, there is so much work that it is difficult to focus on the deeper value of a single project beyond getting it done so I can move on to the next thing and make it to the end of the semester. Although It may feel like we don’t have a single second to spare, I think taking a moment to focus on how the work and the way it is presented to us can teach me overarching lessons for the rest of my career may help me find the inspiration and joy I usually take in my work that I feel like I have lost this semester.

Ben Vigman said...

Perhaps the conclusion of this article is relatively intuitive, but it is no less accurate. From personal experience, I can say that even doing a job that pays well gets very old quickly if it is not challenging. There was a certain monotony to clocking in, punching buttons all day, and then going home. I suppose those kinds of jobs are likely okay for certain personalities, but I got bored fairly quickly. The challenging projects are great because they stimulate your mind and push you to think of creative and slick solutions. I feel that, especially for early career professionals, the challenging projects are even more interesting because they allow you to learn new skills and techniques on the job in a real working context. I also understand that all companies have tasks that are less than interesting. Perhaps an important thing supervisors can look out for is making sure that the monotonous or rote tasks are evenly spread out across multiple employees, such that not only one person is doing all the grunt work at any given time.

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