[Update 10 March, 1030 AEDT: I’ve written a follow-up article which, while bound to piss off a few people, explains precisely why I’m so concerned about this issue. There’s also my first follow-up, written on the weekend.]
“Chalk and cheese” is how I’d describe two approaches to staff management I stumbled across this week. One treats staff as trusted contributors to a shared enterprise, the other as disposable work-droids from which you squeeze every last effort.
Jason Calacanis (pictured) has started various firms, including Mahalo, a “human-powered search engine”. (Don’t worry, I’d never heard of it either.) In How to save money running a startup (17 really good tips) there are some good tips — like outsourcing accounting and worrying more about good chairs than tables. But to paraphrase the bad ones:
- Hold meetings at lunchtime so people never get a mental break from work.
- Don’t provide phones so staff have to use their own.
- If someone shows signs of working hard, buy them a computer for home so they end up working nights and weekends too.
- Buy a good coffee machine — not because you’d like to give your employees good coffee, but to prevent them “wasting time” getting it from a nearby barista.
But that’s not the worst…