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Chapter 4. Staffing Up > Employ People without GettingSued or Screwed - Pg. 89

Staffing Up Respond 89 Technically, this fits under the category of communication, but it is important enough to merit a separate heading. Employees complain about management, no matter how great the company. It's a fact of work; I'm sure even the angels have beers and talk smack about management. Good management understands this, doesn't take it personally, and takes steps to prevent normal healthy whining from spiraling into a morale problem. When there is an unpleasant flavor in the air at a company and workers are displeased, the temptation is to want to put your head down, be silent and ride the problem out, especially if the displeasure is due to management action (or inaction). Management can feel resentful of employees, believing that the stresses and efforts of managing the company go unnoticed. This is the worst strategy, as it allows the spiral to continue. Two good defenses against a poisonous atmosphere: · Have a complaint valve. Create a structure through which employees may comfortably raise concerns. This structure can be the boss, another person, an internal board, or even a sugges- tion box--the core requirement is that the employees feel uninhibited with the process or person and that the complaints receive acknowledgment, if not solution or explanation, from manage- ment. · Be visible. Where possible, leave doors open. Humans process much information visually, men more so than women, and developers exponentially so. A visual representation of manage- ment's availability and openness goes a long way toward preventing employee alienation. See-Joe Fridays Joe Minton of Cyberlore Studios has lunch every Friday in the company lounge at a set time for what is now known as "See-Joe Friday." Employees know that he will be there every week with no other purpose than to answer questions, field concerns, or just catch up on personal events.