Weekly Wrap: Bad Survey for Boss Day, Starbucks Lines, and Just Say No

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Well, today is that day that I know you and your staff has been anxiously waiting for – National Boss Day. I will celebrate by not ranting about the idiocy of such a “Hallmark Holiday” any more than I have already.

There is some additional National Boss Day-related news however, and it comes in the form of Spherion Staffing Services’ 2010 Boss Day Survey that was conducted for them by Monster, and the headline on the press release announcing the survey pretty much says it all: “Recession Has Eroded Workers’ Relationships with Their Boss, Not Much to Celebrate This Bosses’ Day.”

According to the survey:

  • Nearly half (45 percent) of U.S. workers indicate that their relationship with their boss has been affected by the recession.
  • Furthermore, of those who say their relationship with their boss has been affected, 74 percent say the recession has weakened their relationship with their boss negatively.
  • More than one-third of workers (34 percent) say they are somewhat or very dissatisfied with their relationship with their boss.
  • Some 38 percent of workers feel that their boss is somewhat or very uncaring when it comes to their career development; and,
  • Nearly half of workers (45 percent) say their boss has taken credit for their work, and another 37 percent say their boss has “thrown them under the bus” to save himself/herself.

Happy Boss Day, indeed.

There’s a lot more, of course, and you should check out the survey on your own if you want more of the ugly details, but the Spherion Boss Day Survey paints a grim picture of worker’s attitudes toward their supervisors after a good two years of angst and economic calamity. Loretta Penn, the president of Spherion Staffing Services, had this spot-on perspective about the results of this survey:

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“The relationship between supervisors and their employees plays a significant role in overall job satisfaction,” she says. “With nearly all aspects of the labor market and workplace on shaky ground, companies cannot afford to employ unengaged workers or to log increased turnover costs – two very likely outcomes if workers remain dissatisfied and discouraged with their bosses.”

Is there any good news here? Well, not in this survey, but there is this great National Boss Day video you might want to check out if you like people mocking this Boss Day silliness.

Beyond National Boss Day, here are some other workplace-related news items you may have missed this week. Yes, this is a weekly round-up of news, trends, and all sorts of information from the world of HR and talent management. I do it so you don’t have to:

  • Defending middle managers. It’s tough being a middle manager these days (if you are still even employed as one), so that’s why this article in Slate defending the need for them was a welcome relief from the normal bashing and downsizing middle management usually has to put up with. It’s based on a World Bank-Stanford study that shows that middle managers really are important and needed to help make an organization more efficient.
  • Why that line at Starbucks just got longer. Who knew that multi-tasking by Starbucks baristas was such a bad thing? According to The Wall Street Journal, Starbucks management “is telling its harried baristas to slow down — which may result in longer lines. Amid customer complaints that the Seattle-based coffee chain has reduced the fine art of coffee making to a mechanized process with all the romance of an assembly line, Starbucks baristas are being told to stop making multiple drinks at the same time and focus instead on no more than two drinks at a time—starting a second one while finishing the first.” The new methods have “doubled the amount of time it takes to make drinks in some cases,” according to one Starbucks barista in Bloomington, Minnesota. Better budget more time the next time you want a Frappuccino.
  • Is workplace drama impacting your bottom line? There aren’t a lot of numbers to support this premise, but a story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution uses anecdotal evidence to make the point that not only is drama increasing in the workplace, but that it may be hurting the bottom line. And reality TV, the story says, is partly to blame. “In a tougher economy of streamlined companies, I thought there would be less time for drama in the workplace, but the opposite seems to be true,” said Amanda Mitchell, founder of Our Corporate Life, a company that advises businesses on organizational, interpersonal and ethical issues. “In my opinion the ‘drama queen and king’ problem is getting worse.” And she adds: “The prevalence of reality TV has made it acceptable for almost anyone to ‘act out’ in the office. There have always been ‘drama queens’ at work, but it seems that they are more accepted and that there are more of them now.”
  • The art of saying no. With more and more of the workforce going freelance, or into contingent or project-oriented employment, keeping your workload balanced is becoming a bigger issue. And the the key to managing that, says Miami Herald workplace reporter Cindy Krischer Goodman, is being able to know when to say “no.” She says, “If you are ambitious and enthusiastic, it is tempting to let bosses pile on the work, especially in today’s economy. Who wants to risk saying no?” But in this economy, no one wants to turn down any kind of work so “Instead, most of us say yes, and regret it afterward.”

John Hollon is Editor-at-Large at ERE Media and was the founding Editor of TLNT.com. A longtime newspaper, magazine, and business journal editor, John has deep roots in the talent management space. He's the former Editor of Workforce Management magazine and workforce.com, served as Editor of RecruitingDaily, and was Vice President for Content at HR technology firm Checkster. An award-winning journalist, John has written extensively about HR, talent management, leadership, and smart business practices, including for the popular Fistful of Talent blog. Contact him at johnhollon@ere.net, connect with him on LinkedIn, or follow him on Twitter @johnhollon.

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