Wednesday, July 23, 2008

University staff getting punch clocks


It has been brought to my attention that SJSU is looking at requiring staff in the Student Services Center to punch time clocks. In my opinion, this symptomatic "solution" signals a failure of the university to manage this unit effectively. Going to this step is like saying, "we give up, we cannot control the unit, we cannot deal with issues that might be causing productivity loss in the unit, so we are going to put the employees who work there on a leash and tie them to their desks." It shows a loss of respect by the employer for the employees. How can employees respect bosses who do not respect them?

Have you ever worked for a company that has required employees to punch a time clock? I have. Generally the employees at such places resist the attempt by their bosses to treat them like children. The employees often, in my experience, resist attempts at parent-like control in all kinds of passive aggressive ways. People find ways to resist that cannot be controlled by mechanical devices like punch clocks. Work in these places is a combat zone. The best employees do not stay. The result of this, in my opinion, will be lower not higher productivity. Our students will suffer the most, being caught in the middle of this drama.

Rather than trying to deal with problems symptomatically using mechanical devices; I think the university would be better served trying to find the real human issues in that unit. Motivated employees who feel valued by their managers, respected as human beings and feel like they are doing valuable work do not need punch clocks.

People, by nature I think, want to do a good job, be appreciated, respected and treated like members of a team doing valuable work. People, by nature I think, tend to return respect with respect and disrespect with disrespect.

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