Here is a bit of an article that appeared in the Wall Street Journal. It talks about the trust that comes with encouraging employees to be on a first name basis with management and it uses UPS as an example. I thought it was kind of interesting. Here is what it said.
“A relaxed, open work atmosphere can encourage collaboration and a free flow of ideas, and some companies promote the use of first names and nicknames to help employees bond, as well as feel comfortable enough with their superiors to give honest feedback. Some companies have a written policy that all employees must be on a first-name basis.
United Parcel Service Inc., Atlanta, has had such a rule since its first policy book, written by founder Jim Casey in 1929. Spokeswoman Diana Hatcher says the policy reinforces the democratic nature of the company, which often finds senior management in-house.
“Our former CEO [Michael Eskew] began his job as an industrial engineer 34 years ago,” she says. “And he’s Mike. I wouldn’t dream of calling him anything else. It’s a reminder that a person who starts out as a seasonal employee could be our next CEO.”
But the policy has ruffled some employees overseas. UPS has 400,000 employees in 200 countries, with more than 58,000 operating outside the U.S.
Nonetheless, John Flick, director of international public relations at UPS, believes the guideline helps new workers feel confident making suggestions to management. “At first it’s a cultural coup,” Mr. Flick says. “But once they get over the initial shock, everyone I’ve dealt with has embraced it.”
In some regions with strict social strata — such as India, China, Latin America and even Britain — he says the rule is a motivator for employees, enforcing the idea of work being rewarded with promotion. Mr. Flick says it also leads to innovation, as people aren’t afraid to speak up to management.”
Doesn’t that sound great? I didn’t know that UPS had a written policy that all employees must be on a first name basis. I used to have a manager that would call me by my first name when in a good mood and by my last name when in a bad mood. I always knew what to expect just by hearing my name called.
I also liked that part about how the casual approach leads to innovation because workers aren’t afraid to speak up to management. Wow, what planet do these people live on? It sure isn’t Planet UPS. In the trenches, where I lived and worked for 30 years, UPS didn’t want our input. They lived behind a big fence and written on that fence were the words: If workers were smart enough to have good ideas, they’d be in management.