I used to love to pull April Fool’s pranks on my dad. Just as he would be leaving for an appointment, I’d ask him why he had a big ink stain on his shirt. Or tell him that I wrecked the car.
Once the huffing and puffing was over, I’d calmly say “April Fools!” He was never all that amused, but I enjoyed it.
Company leadership pulls unintentional April Fools pranks on employees every year. Here are some examples.
Initiative: We conduct focus groups and surveys and tell employees we want and value their feedback. They give us time they don’t really have and provide their feedback with honesty.
April Fools! We do absolutely nothing with the employees’ feedback, except ask for it again the next year.
Initiative: Employees are asked to take on additional respnsibilities with the promise of a promotion.
April Fools! The employees don’t get the promotion, but the increase in workload continues with no end in sight.
Initiative: Mandatory sales training is conducted, everyone must go through 2-6 days of training with the promise of a changed environment.
April Fools! After a year of working on their new behaviors,employees attend their performance appraisal review and discover it still reflects only operational goals, and sales efforts are not even represented.
Initiative: Salespeople are told that there’s a new focus on relationship selling – do what’s right for the customer.
April Fools! The incentive plan hasn’t changed, and is still fueled by marketing programs that promote one product at a time, whether a customer needs it or not.
You know, eventually my dad stopped believing me on April Fools when I told him he had an ink stain on his shirt, or a wreck in the car. There were no more surprise reactions to delight me.
Employees will do the same. They will stop believing in corporate initiatives, and put only minimal effort in them. Why? Because businesses have started creating a “Ground Hog/April Fools Day” where the same things are promised over and over again but never delivered.
If your company has employees that seem to have lost energy for the next new initiative, consider this: Is your company guilty of its own Ground Hog/April Fools Day approach?