The Bitching Factor

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Illustration courtesy of the Financial Times and its insight on the issue at hand.

With all due respect and apologies to sensitive ears, kindly allow me to introduce the concept of The Bitching Factor.

The Bitching Factor is the number of times in a month (or any other significant time period) that owners, managers, and employees bitch about their business and the human beings that work there. Bitching may include, but not be limited to, complaints about employee behaviour, quality of work done by fellow team members, lack of communication, work conditions (including physical space), absence of recognition, inconsistent customer experience, late products, late pay, low pay, undependable schedules, refusal to follow basic procedures, arrogant management, incompetence, too much talk too little action, too much gossiping, and so on.

The higher The Bitching Factor, the lower the sales. Therefore, it would be advisable, as a marketing strategy, to engage immediately in actions that will reduce dramatically The Bitching Factor. The closer it gets to zero, the more impressive the business performance. In companies heavily dependant on word of mouth especially, such as restaurants, committing energy and resources to curtail The Bitching Factor will pay off in the long run more than any award-winning ad campaign. 

When searching for the causes of high employee turnover, look no further than The Bitching Factor. It should come as no surprise that companies with a low Bitching Factor attract (and retain) the best employees, which fuels a virtuous cycle: the better the staff, the better the show. 

The Bitching Factor is like blood pressure: a health indicator. It is up to owners and managers to identify the kinks and redress them instantly (lightening fast!), with respect, kindness, and thoughtfulness. 

To ignore bitching is to ignore a cry for help. 

VALUABLE TIP: Calling a meeting to ask employees and management to stop bitching increases The Bitching Factor exponentially, so don’t do it. Writing a memo or an email is much worse. Just fix the issue, preferably on the spot. 

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