I was in an airport restroom last week and the seat cover holder made me laugh. I’d never noticed it before, but this particular one actually said, “Provided By Management For Your Safety.” I even took a picture of it.
So many things struck me as stupid about this sign.
- Is the airport leadership really concerned about the safety of my rear?
- Is “safety” the right word choice here?
- Should I be concerned about the airport housekeeping staff’s ability to clean a toilet?
The larger problem with this statement is it is ridiculous.
Do you really think “management” painstakingly installed those seat covers in every restroom? Even if they did, I’m doubtful their primary concern is safety. Otherwise, they’d be standing at every stall door ready to wipe down the seat with anti-bacterial wipes—not dispensing some flimsy paper that works as well as my mom’s arm across my chest before seatbelts were mandatory!
But then SHOULD “management” be concerned with employees’ restroom safety? Does this imply reliance on them to also drive an employee’s career? To be responsible for workplace happiness? To provide only gluten-free options in the vending machine? I sure hope not.
In the context of a work environment, shouldn’t we prefer them to be concerned about the profitability of the company, the depth of leadership talent and providing fulfilling opportunities for people passionate about their jobs? Yes… we should, as well as want them to communicate about these things to the extent they can.
I believe most employees want their leadership to be focused on elements that improve their organization. Things like operational and salesforce effectiveness, growing the business responsibly, developing people to be better than they were when they joined, and contributing to the broader community.
Employees want to work for smart leaders who look out for the “safety” of the overall organization’s health.
It’s simple and doesn’t require a sign.
I’ll take care of my butt, and “management” can look after everything else that impacts my work well-being.
Kathy Rapp is the CEO of hrQ where she helps companies find groovy HR Talent for permanent or project roles across the country. Prior to joining hrQ Kathy booked more than 15 years of diverse HR leadership experience working in F500s and start-up organizations. A connoisseur of the intersection between pop culture and business, Kathy believes many talent insights can be gleamed from the succession planning lessons experienced by Van Halen and AC/DC.