Human-Centered Management

Help Wanted: Mindless Drones with No Personal Life

39385539_10215101055113338_1874144524758941696_nI get it. There are some bad employees out there. Sometimes those employees are just that way and you cannot do anything about it. Other times, you create them. Posting a want-ad like the one shown here, and maybe I am wrong, seems like a sure way to not only attract the bad employees but also shows what your work environment is really like – scaring away potential good employees and possibly creating bad employees.

So how do you get and keep the good employees? Well, it can be a combination of different things. Employers could probably get away with ignoring a lot of these things I am going to list if they pay above-average wages or they have employees who believe they have no other options. In rare cases, they may have employees who are okay with the mistreatment and stick around thinking that is how things are supposed to be. All of those employees will still hate their employer, but they may be good at their job and stick around for a while. (*At least until they find something better)

Show them respect

offer-442904_960_720No one wants to work for a boss that belittles them, yells at them, swears at them, or openly ridicules them in front of their coworkers. If your response to that is something along the lines of “Suck it up, that’s called having a job,” you need to have your EQ checked, it seems you left it back in the 5th grade.

If you aren’t okay with your employees swearing and yelling at you, you should probably avoid doing it to them. Lead by example here, or deal with the good employees finding jobs where they don’t get yelled at when making a small mistake. Although it has been my experience that managers who yell and swear at employees often don’t take the time to figure out the facts. This creates a situation where they blame people for things they had nothing to do with. In other words, the employee that didn’t screw up now hates you.

Give them some autonomy

Did you hire them just to follow your orders? That might be the case, and that might work for the job duties you have. I imagine at some point though, they will have to think for themselves. They will learn the job. They will be presented with situations they have to navigate and you probably don’t want to hold their hand through it. Giving them some autonomy into how they do some tasks can go a long way towards creating an employee who owns their job rather than an employee who just does the job until they can find something better.

What matters is the output of their work effort. Can they do it in the needed timeframe, budget, and quality expectations? If yes, who cares if they are 15 minutes late or their car breaks down. We are human and we have to deal with human things sometimes.

Don’t assume the worst before you even talked to them

match-143179_960_720Instead of starting with a list of “don’ts” or a list of things that will get you fired, try starting with a list of “do’s.”

If you need people to start at a specific time, tell us what time that is. Putting it in the job advertisement would be helpful, so we know in advance whether it is even worth our time to apply. I happen to get my daughter on the bus every morning for school and couldn’t leave my house until 7:30 AM. I am not terribly likely to apply to a job that wants me starting at 6 AM. Knowing in advance the expectation of what you want from me can be helpful to both of us.

Life changes though. Sometimes I can adapt. I had a job once where I had to find a babysitter to get my daughter on the bus. What would have happened if my babysitter fell through… you guessed it… If I couldn’t find a replacement, either my wife or I would not be going to work that day. Sorry, my kid is more important than the work you want me to do.

Some people have fewer options than I do when it comes to childcare. Childcare can be expensive, it can also be a thankless job where no matter what they get paid, it really isn’t enough. Working parents have to pay for it and it needs to be worth it to have a job and pay for childcare. People who care for children are also humans. You may have more going on than just an employee who is late to work.

Try to create flexibility

A job is just what we do to live. Hopefully you get more out of it than that, but as I stated in the prior section, my kid is going to come first. I assume the same thing about everyone, but maybe not.

I happen to get jobs that usually have some flexibility. I know that not all jobs are like that, I’ve worked some of those jobs in the past. The rather sad and disturbing thing about our society is that the lower paid employees tend to have fewer options when it comes to flexibility and they tend to have the most strict job options. That really makes no sense.

Employers don’t think like that. They just count the hours, no matter when the hours happen. Just with some jobs, they dictate that the hours have to be at a certain time. With a little bit of effort and thought, most jobs don’t have to be like that.

If you want employees who have reliable transportation so they can get to work at a set time, you need to pay them more. That way they won’t be driving the 10-year-old car with engine issues or reliant on a finicky family member to watch their children for free/cheap. Getting solid reliable transportation with minimum wage isn’t usually easy.

OR (“AND” would be ideal)

Be flexible. Be as flexible as you can be. I would rather have one excellent worker starting an hour later than a mediocre worker who manages to show up on time. Being flexible for an employee can create loyalty with that employee. They would be more likely to stay with you than go to another place that is inflexible, even if it paid a little more.



I have never understood the logic behind paying an employee minimum wage and expecting them to use their car for their work. I personally think that practice should be illegal. Meanwhile, the high paid executive gets a car allowance in addition to their salary. Give the car to the person who can afford it, screw over the low paid pizza delivery guy who directly interacts with your customers.

These are just my opinions. They may not mean a whole lot as I have had like 5 jobs in the past 6 years (I do a lot of contracting in IT/Software-related areas, that is sometimes the nature of the beast), but I do think the more you work with your employees, the more they will try to work with you.

I understand that there are just bad employees out there. I have known people who fit the complaints in the above job ad exactly. No matter what you do for them they won’t be anything but a bad employee.

I, however, think the number of naturally bad employees is far lower than employees who become “bad” because employers make them that way. Whether indirectly, or directly, the restrictions employers put on jobs has an impact on the humans who perform those jobs. Humans with lives outside of work, just dealing with the reality of living. Sometimes a job just doesn’t fit with their life, that doesn’t make them a bad employee.




Want ad image was found on Facebook, I am not aware of where it came from originally.

Other images from


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