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WeWork Has a People Problem. Make Sure You Don't.

An article published on Forbes recently pointed to a series of issues involving WeWork, a company focusing on co-working and private office and meeting spaces. It’s quite ironic; one would imagine that a company that offers a people-centric service would have any other problem before having a people problem. But it just goes to show, that if it could happen to them, it could happen to you.

Their problem? According to The Information, WeWork has a dangerously high turnover rate for high level employees over a relatively short period of time.

News stories and information like this surfacing now is very bad timing for WeWork - they’re hoping to launch an IPO before the end of the year. Stephanie Denning, a senior contributor to Forbes, noted that while money and finances are important to projecting the well-being of a business, oftentimes their human relation conditions are an even better indicator.

And right now, based on this latest mass exodus, it would appear that WeWork is not doing so well.

We tend to agree - no matter how unique your idea is, no matter how necessary your product or service is, your company will not make it long-term if there are systemic problems with your workers and team members.

Look at some of the largest and most successful American businesses and enterprises. Disney, Amazon and Apple are all wildly successful and, to varying degrees, innovative and forward-thinking businesses. Aside from that, what else do they have in common?

A corporate structure, with distinct boundaries, clear roles and responsibilities and a defined organizational structure.

These stodgy and stiff sounding words and phrases might make you squirm if you think of yourself as a creative, free-flowing entrepreneur. But having the structure that these large companies establishes order - order that is necessary for success.

Innovation is not stifled at Amazon because the organizational structure is clearly defined.

Denning references a few major problems that could lead to employee unrest, particularly at the management level: the uncertain and undefined employment of their CEO, a confusing and painfully indistinct organizational structure and a confusing rebrand as of lately.

Without delving into the details of any of the major complaints, you could probably see the common words: confusion, uncertain, not defined. For smaller companies with an all-hands-on-deck philosophy, agreeing on an organizational structure can seem like unnecessary red-tape; an impediment to growth. At some stages, there is truth to that thinking.

But as a company grows, structure helps. Confusion leads to frustration at the management level, dissatisfaction, disillusionment and ultimately, departure.

So how can you avoid this? Think about your business structure.

Is it simple? Are the terms of everyone’s employment (including your own) defined? Are roles and responsibilities clearly defined and communicated?

Start to implement rules and regulations not to stifle creativity or to control people, but to help people better understand what they can do to help the company to better success.

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