All workplaces have a culture which is especially theirs. These cultures develop in part from the top of a company; the founders get an idea of how they would like their company to be. But also a company culture develops over time as different people come in and change the ways the company works. |
In the big banking companies or legal firms, staff who provide a supporting function like IT or training are often led to believe that the traders or attorneys are some sort of demi-god and have to be treated as such. As a result, the company develops a culture where one set of people are both subservient to and possibly resentful of the behaviour of others.
The result is a trickle-down effect. The staff themselves are unhappy in their work, and it is passed on. Support staff in this type of environment often treat vendors and external suppliers badly. There is internal criticism which they pass on. The need for perfection may be drilled into them and is passed on to vendors in a manner that demands ‘make me look good’. Working with big demanding companies requires an enormous building of emotional resilience. The stakes are high. Smaller suppliers want the business from larger companies but they are often put through the ringer to get it.
In the first place, the bid process is brutal. The larger company effectively dictating if you want to do business you do it our way. Smaller companies often have to shave margin and profitability in order to win the business, and while the big company will stress that the decision is based on more than price, they will then squeeze a vendor who has the best service to match the lowest price. Then the delivery process makes things even worse. Service Level Agreements shave off even more margin and stress staff engaged in service delivery who know that literally, their livelihood hangs on a whim.
The only way to keep staff in that type of pressure cooker environment is to equip them with the skills to recognise this is business and not personal. It is almost impossible for the person at the coalface to see it as other than personal. It takes a person with great emotional resilience to both realise what is at play and to be able to continue to deliver in the face of such passive aggression from the big company.
This is not an innate skill. People really need assistance in recognizing what is happening and then applying coping mechanisms to help them deal with the situation and keep going back. For employers, if they are to have any chance of staff retention they need to provide their staff with building the emotional resilience needed to continue walking back into the lion’s den. It is a thankless task. Most people work hard and care about what they do. Getting the correct backup from their own organization makes all the difference. Make sure they are properly trained.
For more information about workplace resilience training please check out our programs.
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