To: All staff
From: Company president
Subject: Low productivity
It has come to my attention that productivity has dropped drastically since Friday, June 11th. I’m not sure what’s going on, but please be assured that I’m monitoring the situation closely and will suspend or terminate employees who aren’t pulling their own weight. For the company to be successful, it’s important for all of us to work hard. We need to learn from the examples set by the following managers, whom I’m pleased to recognize.
John Tembo, Human Resources Manager: I was walking past John’s office and heard him and several employees shouting “Goal! Goal! Goal!” When I knocked on the door, John told me they were watching a training video to help them achieve company goals. I have nominated each of them for our Employee of the Month Award. It’s important for all of us to focus on goals. As John said, “Without goals, our team will lose.”
Carlos Mendez, Sales and Distribution Manager: Carlos called me on Friday morning to say he was ill and couldn’t come to work. His doctor had diagnosed him with a rare illness called socceritis. The illness affects patients for at least a month and there’s a chance of relapse every four years. As you can imagine, I was rather shocked and saddened. I wondered how we could manage without Carlos for so long. Perhaps Carlos read my mind, for he immediately put me at ease. “I’ll come to work, boss,” he said. “The illness isn’t contagious. I just need to return home to get 90 minutes of rest a few times a day.” What an example Carlos is setting for all of us. I am nominating him for our Courage and Inspiration Award.
Ravi Narayanan, Product Design Manager: As of Friday, Ravi is testing an innovative program he developed called WHFH (Work Hard From Home). He believes it will not only increase productivity in his department but also lower costs considerably, particularly the cost of buying coffee and doughnuts. Ravi came to work briefly on Tuesday and I overheard him saying to another manager, “Brazil 2, North Korea 1.” I asked him about it and he said, “That’s the number of customers we have in each country.” I was extremely pleased. I didn’t realize we had a customer in North Korea. I am nominating Ravi for our Innovative Spirit Award.
Hans Mueller, Advertising Manager: Hans, as you know, is always looking for new ways to advertise, new ways to reach potential customers. Since Friday, he has been personally manning an information booth at the ESPN Sports Bar. I paid a surprise visit to the bar and heard Hans talking to an employee about something called “World Cup.” He told me it’s an acronym he’s using to motivate employees: WORLDCUP (Working Overtime Results in Less Disappointment and Creates an Upsurge in Productivity.) I am nominating Hans for the High Motivation Award.
Ming Yu, Technology Manager: I found Ming coming out of a bathroom stall with a small battery-operated TV. He said he’s testing a video conferencing system that will enable employees to continue to work while doing their business. A few minutes later, I heard Ming telling his assistant how many customers we have in certain countries. I was proud to hear all the numbers, but disappointed to realize we have no customers in France. That’s a huge market that we’re missing out on. In any case, I am nominating Ming for the Bathroom Productivity Award.
(A slightly different version of this column first appeared in 2006)