How Effective is Complaining?

I am sure most of us have experienced people complaining about others not doing their jobs correctly as a way to solve an issue at work and I wonder how effective this really is. I currently work at my dad’s high end electronics company and many people will send out office-wide emails pointing out mistakes people have made to encourage others to not do the same. For example, we have a tool sign in/out spreadsheet on Google Docs where installers, or anyone using tools is supposed to sign in or out the tool when they use it. This is to reduce loss of tools or to find out who is responsible for the loss of a tool. Recently, one of the employees in charge of tools has been sending out emails calling out those who have not been using the tool sign in/out sheet properly or have not been using it when they should have.  It is hard to tell if this has been effective since he has only started doing this recently, but people are still not using the tool spreadsheet as often as they need to be.


Although I cannot determine how effective this has been, recently my mom who also works at my dad’s company has started calling people who had not filled out their schedules at the end of the day and has been sending out emails based on how many people filled out their schedules like they were supposed to. After about a week of this thorough checking in on people, we finally had a day where everyone filled out their schedules. This did not take very long to see significant results. One possible reason that this worked better than the complaints about the tool spreadsheet was because it was done in a kinder way, rather than calling people out to everyone in the office. My mom kindly called people to ask them to fill out their schedule rather than being upset with them. Another possible reason this worked better was because it was more targeted at the people who were not doing what they were supposed to do. Rather than just sending out an email, they actually got a direct phone call which is much harder to ignore. Also, this could have been more effective because my mom is the boss’ wife so people are more motivated to listen to her because she has more leverage in the company. Although this was more effective, it was also more time consuming.


There are many ways to complain to try and get people to cooperate in the workplace, some may be affective and others not. Although some may be affective, they may have other affects as well such as others seeing the complainer in a negative light. However, sometimes it is justified because people need to understand that they cannot continue to slack off because it affects everyone else’s work.


Do you think sometimes complaining is necessary? If so, in what way? If not, why not?


Why do you think my mom’s method was affective?


What are some other methods to get people to do what they need to do?