Jeffrey Pfeffer author Dying for a Paycheck

Newsmaker Interviews
Wednesday, March 21st

Author Jeffrey Pfeffer joins WILK's Sue Henry to talk about his book, "Dying For a Paycheck".  He explains that many modern management practices are toxic to employees and in his book offers advice about how to build a workplace where people thrive.


Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

Jeffrey pepper author of dying for a paycheck how modern management harms. Employee health and company performance. And what we can do about it dad Jeffrey welcome and it lets her where you are right. That is the Euro hit a it's okay yeah I definitely take things will be on your show. You're dying for a paid I'm just kidding that was just sent inappropriate humor. Okay now Jeffrey or where you get the idea during the stock I I know that you're a teacher tap professor how did you think. I've I've got to read a book to make people understand that no matter what they do they may be harmed by their employer. I and commit these that both for a new human couple. Talk that consulting companies also it's Stanford University. And there's all the enormous concern with the health care costs and and it fascinated me to see if we're doing in the workplaces actually driving up to help our cause for which it is and it's also telling people. People were places of the leading cause of death in the United States according to our estimates. What to reproduce this just listening to the conversations. About how individuals need to eat healthier and exercise more and stop smoking and all the other stuff. What people I don't think it companies don't realize is that a lot of these individual behaviors are driven by the threat is created in the workplace. So what they're looking for a whether they're smoking or drinking or taking drugs or whatever they're looking for escape from. The pressure of their employees. Is that fair to say. That's exactly correct. And address comes from many things including. Economic insecurity delay all the sun you know does the episcopal the change all the problem. Only conflict it's. Food that micromanage although both kinds of things occur quite comfortable. Aaron let's talk about economic insecurity. As a Strasser for people it seems obvious and input is may say Jeffrey Kaye. You know that's what a pain is this is as much as it is it is that's what the market bears. Blob blob blob blob blob blob luck. I talk about tech economic insecurity. I think it is not just low wage is that the way off. And you see companies and every industry. Some of them look so treat there employees of the steps to follow them treat them up pretty badly capital Southwest Airlines for instance even though it's in the cyclical in this. Previous airline industry has never had a lay off or furlough. Colonial which has been a very typical that mistreated retailing and according manufacturing. That takes very good care of its employees who offers everybody health insurance on the first day the employment including by the way part timers. William Miller which is headquartered in K let's have a two statements as a very competitive manufacturing industry to the panic over its employees at the end. Because them home at the end of the world they feeling better than when they came in at the start of the work state until and every industry can. Do you find employers that do good things send that you find employers who do bad things for the idea of that you have to be a bad importer in order to survive I think it is it's just wrong and many employers it created a little. Lose lose situation. In which what they're doing to the workforce is not helping them either. I'll pack. Howled some companies got into these practices because I always remember. Back in the day Jeffrey when you started working that health insurance. It was considered to be a plumber benefit and recovery Everett it even covered having a media had a baby her along time ago an amorphous that. A radio company. Dating give me a bill. It looks like health insurance is. Such a divisive. Thinking with your employer and it seems very capricious when they throw the rates at every year. Yeah that's exactly right. And when I think it happened is that over time and amid a one point that you see who got me you think you'd think we talked about it very nice sleek. That it did there was a sense of community there was this sense of mutual obligation. That the importer felt obligated to Ewing knew and return. Felt obligated to do an employer but over time employers have fur. A variety of reasons decided that you know workers are on their own and you know who we've got to careers and jobs that now gig and and I think. So we have not quite recognize is that that this has happened the costs are now being born by a larger as a possible because society. So taxpayers are paying for this have health insurance and I wind up in the emergency room somebody's gotta paper Mike it's not going to be my employer. If I wind up. You know stressed that not able to work anymore will be on the probably some public welfare system. Are some kind of it doesn't. That they give me through. So that's so important that it just sort of push their cost soft on the larger society and we let them do attend. Aaron let's talk about to shift work which we see a lot in our area because we still have some places. That bitter warehouse related. Now so people. Have gone to these so afford ten hour days for shift work and there are other people. Who are still believe it or not in this modern environmental working swing shift. Hot talk about how those things may take a tolls. An employee. There have been studies done on all of those that work hours and instantly your regular work hours. And they include including working all hours and days and nights and weekends. Definitely have a tablet poll on people's health. Has there been summaries. Gotta look good does this state on this. And down than it and it's sort of and it's healthy one of the reasons why it's unhealthy in addition to the the show for itself as it is to keep the good exercise and eating schedule. And oftentimes people working your regular shift its troubled carrier covering their family responsibilities. Do you get the stress of dealing with with those who oppose the responsibilities of well. Let's talk about a concept to which came into play I think like Boyle on the frog very slowly. Remember when I was a kid my parents came home at night. And they left the office at the office and other words there was no email I remember the outlet when the majors. Crap into society and then of course. How has that Jeffrey impacted. The employee eat. Well move again cutting importers lavatory. Places like you know pillow. They do which is and it's the company. These supposed to leave your work to do it at work at here and and and managers to. There employees off hours probably don't they're working at the company very long. But the idea that you were going to be always saw on. And that means that you work hours have increased even though you may not being being paid. All the extra hours as we know that long work hours tribes the blood pressure. And the and drive down psychological and other dimensions of physical health until it is always saw an idea. Is just not so I mean you know obviously people doing emergency workers like police fire. Doctors don't need to be on call. But for most people maybe you should lead to work at the office and by the way take vacation the other things about America which I'm sure you can remembers too. It in the olden days people used to get vacation and use the paid vacation. About a quarter of the workforce it's no great time mosque and many people even with the vacations don't use all of that and. And I noticed there is a concept that's kind of been ruled out and society for better or worst. Worst that you just brought up called a PTO paid time off this. All encompassing. It doesn't separate. Vacation. From sick days from personal days it's just considered PT Al yeah. You're lucky to get paid time off because that quarter of the US workforce is back at any sick days or vacation days or anything else. We blocked the ball at the discretion of the employer which means that if you're an employee you need to pay a lot of attention about who you go to work for. They're good employers too little. If you benefits and canned and give you some control over your work allegedly took family obligations and then there are employers who go out. Now are you noticing Jeffrey through your research that may be some of this because of the way the economy is changing hopefully for the better. Now we have drop in unemployment we have more people who work force are you noticing that. At that employers are going to half to. Embrace some of the ideas. About how they treat employees. In order to make their work places conducive to an attractive. Two employees in the future. I wish I could say idea but I respectfully ask we don't see much change for the better. According to Gallup solid job and and get the employee engagement is slowly and then and not really improving. The account of the board finds that job satisfaction. Has gone down pretty much steadily over the last probably five point seven years of the Edelman trust index. Five to multiple built in factors through leaders and that Family Foundation. Data shows that the employers. I continue to not only eliminate health insurance. When they haven't eliminated employee health insurance that you continue to transfer. I want the economic support employees by raising deductibles and co pays. So even though do you make you very good point which you would think it is the economy in the labor market it's tiger employers would be. You know do they do better by their employees out for the most part they're not and with computers monitoring. Fewer and fewer people have real control over the workforce. And they feel like they're being watched the kind of guy Big Brother all the time. Love I would I would think we're moving in the right direction but at the moment I don't think they are. You done any research into companies that to engage employee productivity. And it literally are on them. As for the whole forty hours to be productive to the point where it's very very difficult for some people even in that to go to the restroom. And how bad it is that's. That group that would you know that the monitoring. Which is which has gotten I think much much much more severe and yes this so people have left discretion. And that they used to have in part because every keystroke. Every telephone call everything they're doing is being much more. Not monitored her name and control than it used to be and ironically this believed that some white collar workers well and it's really. It's really too bad I mean that is wonderful. Article in the of the in the New York Times. Entitled balloon that the attic in which a woman writes about her husband who got eight the common infection caused by drug addiction and he was dying he was on a conference call and I think that releases. To the release says that all about about what what has happened to the work in the work. America now oftentimes it indifferent to jobs cut sites and Jeffrey they do these things where they have surveys that gauge. I guess will be called employee engagement. And have you noticed any efficacy with these things because. I guess is an employee you wanna be truthful in these surveys straight. But until it does answer report the employer or even care about what you're reading have you seen more employee engagement surveys that. It changed the course of how employers treat employees. Not for the most part I mean come accompanied do these surveys. But but the surveys have basically administered by human resource department which for the mole problem for the most part. Don't have as much. They should and that's really the voice of the employee so yeah after employers who these surveys to what they do what firm is often not much and they don't even do the surveys every year that some employers to worry about employee engagement. Statistical surveys and and don't really through the hard work. That would be required a change the world culture in ways that would make four crew I think much more engaging and also healthier. And of course here's the the payoff for all of us your recommendations. For how you think the cultures can change based upon your research. Yeah I'm that type you know I think there are employers in the he would do things in the year of the social events that can build more defense the communities so people can totally support each other. Employers who can build more autonomy. At the capitol both white and blue collar jobs that we know the job control. Effects people's health and we've known for a long time it looked. More autonomy on the job to better worker and head and a more gays are secured their work an important considerably. Provide due morbid sense of community and to feel a sense of responsibility to their employees which can be employees a couple on. And and and do things such as. Providing reasonable work hours and thinking leaders to call people all over the that they at night and play it. Sending emails on the weekend and and do all the southern supplant I think it is up to be employers to create a work environment. That's basically all we have not toxic. I don't know what happens if people hear your voice and they ask their management to embrace your concepts to think they rent a new wrist themselves of being. Labelled a trouble maker in the workforce. In the same day but the irony is is that the work hours for work family conflict. Network different for autonomy and job control an infant from lay off the evidence suggests that employers are creating a lose lose situations. And we not only are they are making their employees sick. But they're not benefiting. Themselves the relationship between work hours sometimes productivity and pull the national level of the industry mobile. And the individual company levels pretty clear the longer paperwork asking who the productivity goes beyond a certain point because there you know because they're exhausted. Let out don't actually provide much benefit the companies or any benefit the companies in terms of profits. Or you know stock price of diesel you would you have people who are able to take care of their family responsibilities. They can concentrate on their job. Andy and at what is interesting is that virtually every person I interviewed for this book has left their employer. And turnovers expensive so he's likely to anger workforce you need to take of them. It's the book causes people to leave their employers are banned. Because Jeffrey we hear this you can't do better anywhere else I guess these people found out they could. That's said that after insert joining us today if it did anybody leave this book on their boss's desk. And yeah. Probably knock. Well let's get to pick it back big bosses need to understand that now is they harming their employees but actually harboring their own bottom line. Harrington Jeffrey tap first thank you so much for doing the show early early early out there in San Francisco we appreciate it.