7 Fairy Tales Companies Tell Employees

 In Employee engagement, Employee Satisfaction, Employees, Leadership, Leadership Development

Fairy tales live and breathe in corporations. Here is one. In employee engagement surveys, one of the top areas of complaints is communication. The number one skill most CEOs say helped them get to the top is their ability to communicate. That is quite a gap in perception! Here are seven other common ‘fairy tales’, where companies say one thing and often do another, that are detrimental to your future career success.

The Top 4 Fairy Tales

Employees are our most valuable assets

Worldwide only 13% of employees are engaged. How can employees be the company’s greatest assets when most do not really like what they are doing or where they are doing it? Most companies treat employees as a small cogs in a large wheel. Enough said.

Customers are our #1 priority

I travel frequently and see the best and worst of how companies actually treat their customers. The poor experiences seem to overwhelm the best. For example, these companies below say they are customer oriented, but an ACSI survey proves they are not. Just like thousands of others that claim superior service, (See my post on this.) but pay only lip service to it.

  • United – Their slogan is Flyer-friendly.
  • Wal-Mart – Their website says it has leadership through service.
  • AOL – World class content and experience for consumers is the claim, and the CEO upsets employees over poorly handled health care cuts which aggravates their problems.

Finally, research shows employee engagement drives customer engagement. With so many dissatisfied employees, every day millions of customers worldwide get sub-par service as a result.

We believe in work-life balance

https://rickconlow.com/product/real-time-learning-training/Following an earlier phone call that I’d made to a client manager, he texted me at 7:30 pm and said he could not talk to me because he was on phone conferences all day and was on one now. Another manager I talked to was on the road ten of the last twelve weeks with no break in sight. The managers of another client work 12-14 hour days routinely. Here is the kicker: every one of these organizations say that they support work-life balance. However, if you as an employee try to maintain a sense for that and work less, it is reflected in your performance review. See this post that accurately declares work-life balance is a myth.

We pay based on performance

The Kiplinger report suggests average pay increased 2.6% in 2013. Employers say they plan on 2.9% this year.According to Kiplinger data, top performers will generally receive about double the average pay hike. Inflation is about 2%, and with health care costs rising for employees, most are going backwards financially, regardless of their performance. Contrast that with CEOs. Their pay is about 350 to 1 compared to employees, and increasing; it is up about 8.5%. Peter Drucker recommended to corporations that their pay ratio to employees be 20 to 1 so that workers do not get disillusioned and disenchanted. No kidding!

3 More Fairy Tales that Matter

We pay a competitive salary

This means average pay not great pay. 50% of companies pay more than what you will get. What does this say about the company’s commitment to excellence? Most likely, performance packages are an afterthought, not a priority of the company. If you perform really well and if the company has a performance-based system, your pay increase or bonus will be mediocre. Now re-read the ‘pay for performance’ paragraph. Do not buy into these fairy tales.

We are a family here

Do the leaders know your name? Do you get exceptional health care coverage? How about taking care of your kids’ college tuition? Families do not kick people out (layoff) when the budget is tight. How often do the leaders engage in a meaningful conversation with you, besides work? As one so-called “family oriented” president always says to his employees when first greeting them, “What did you sell for me today?”

We are team oriented

A book by Amy Edmondson suggests that current models of static teamwork do not fit the knowledge economy. She says teams need to be more dynamic, fluid and resourceful. Research by the late J. Richard Hackman, Professor and Team Expert at Harvard University, gives evidence that teams usually do less well—not better—than the sum of their members’ individual contributions. Teamwork… it sounds good but for the most part it is not happening, at least not effectively.


What does this mean to YOU? While there are exceptional organizations, as a general rule you cannot count on your employer to be concerned about your dreams or career. The fairy tales are not true. With the new focus on home offices and virtual businesses you need think differently before you are outsourced. Too often employees and any resources connected to them are expendable “when necessary.” Become an entrepreneur or entrapreneur or both.  Entrepreneurs take risks and start businesses. Entrapreneurs do the same thing inside organizations. Most importantly, in either case, it is time to “Inc. Yourself”, says author Judith McQuown.

7 Fairy Tales Companies Tell EmployeesAlso, do you want more success in life? See this complimentary guide and assessment-no fairy tales here-on habits of successful people: Success Practices Assessment and Guidebook.

In addition, go here for our RealTime Learning & Training leadership and personal development website. Micro-learning and career advancement at your fingertips!

Finally, do you want to accelerate your leadership success? Go here for Rick’s Superstar Leadership eBook.

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