Remember: An EPIC View Of Employee Relations Is Easy

Once again we head to the bathroom in today’s blog. Then the kitchen. Then the carpet. But primarily the bathroom. What does EPIC stand for: Employee Potty Indicates Concern. Yes, Dear Reader, it’s ranting time.

You, dear reader, will be spared any photographs in this blog edition. There will be graphic descriptions tied in, nothing too horrible, but let’s get real: your employee bathroom, its condition and supplies, are key indicators of what you think of them, how you care for them, and is far more accurate an indicator than any happy talk on the corporate website.

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Major corporations spend a lot of time and money on placating their employees. Read that carefully – placating, not making them happy, better workers, or feeling loved. Sometimes a wellness program is thrown out there to make sure they are healthy. The under lying concern is the amount that corporate entities have to pay for any health insurance premiums.

Sometimes it’s daycare. Yes, absenteeism drops when you have their kids on the property.

But what about the actual indicators of how the employer views the employee? How clean are the carpets/walls/windows? Is there an actual kitchen area, or some old conference room with a couple of microwaves that employees brought in themselves? Finally, how clean is the bathroom, and what kind of toilet paper and soap are in the employee bathroom versus the visitor bathroom?

If the showplace bathroom in the lobby has soft toilet paper and gel in the soap dispenser, but there’s the large roll of industrial strength deli-paper and foam (or empty containers) in the employee bathroom, it’s all about the show. Further, speaking as one who has cleaned more bathrooms than the average reader (janitorial gigs/military service taught me all about the right way to do it), the level of cleanliness is significant.

If the visitor bathroom is shiny, and has functional lights and stall doors/handles, but the employee bathroom has broken doors, flickering lights, and grout that is dark gray below knee height, it’s all about the show. I’ve been in several employee bathrooms as Santa that were vile. These places had professional janitorial companies doing the work, not employees. Consequently, you know that management only complained when visitors found it gross and disgusting. Employees? Well, they shouldn’t be spending that much time in the bathroom anyway.

There’s the rub. Especially when it comes to toilet paper. Your employees are captive there for 8 to 12 hours a day. Most humans will find a need to use a bathroom during that time. Let’s make it a given that the majority of your employees will not steal the toilet paper to take it home. Why, in the name of humanity, is there cheap paper in the employee bathrooms? Cost? Of course. But when you use nicer paper it’s a sign that you care, understand less paper will be used (it takes a lot of the cheap stuff to do the same job) and want your employees to leave the room without having a pain in their tuchus. If cost is the sole point of decision, then why isn’t the cheap stuff in the visitor biffy as well?

Back to cleaning. Yeah, kind of a sore spot. The janitor swamping the floor out with the same bucket of water they used to do the hallway, the women’s room, the entry way, and the men’s room merely means that you distribute all the germs around the building. You’ve got to use soap, rinse, rinse again, and then change water before moving on to the next venue.

Same with the toilets themselves. If it matters enough to spray the blue stuff in the toilet and scrub the sides in the lobby, why should it suffice to just splurt a little cleaner in the employee bathroom and then leave it there until someone uses the toilet? This could be why the sides of most employee bathroom porcelain units would scare Frankenstein.

Tired of the Bathroom? Let’s move on to the toxic ooze in the employee kitchen. Take a look at the walls near the trash cans. Yuck. Lots of spray up there from near misses, bouncing waste. Why aren’t those wiped down every day when the room is cleaned? Same thing for the sink/counter/coffee pot.

Last, and not least: if the lobby is worth vacuuming every night, why aren’t the areas where your employees work. Let’s be honest: there’s way more need in the cube farm for a good vacuuming than in the lobby where only delivery people and visitors trek through. By letting the carpets/floors/walls in the cube farm go to blazes, and remain unpainted for decades, you are signalling the people who work for you that you don’t actually care.

No number of smiley faces on the home page, nor announcements that you’ve been voted the best place to work at in Hades, will change the minds of your minions when they are faced with the fact that their employers consider them lesser animals who don’t mind living in a wallow.

So, corporate rulers, if a bozo like me picks that up from occasional visits to your facility, what do you think the inmates in sector 7G think as they head off to work each morning?

And you wonder why the referral bonus that HR offers isn’t bringing in friends and relatives.

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