In a recent video town hall, CEO of MillerKnoll, Andi Owen, advised staff to “leave Pity City” when it comes to fretting about bonuses. However, the statement sparked backlash on social media, causing the company to respond that the clip was taken out of context. Despite this, Owen’s tone has been perceived as harsh and unsympathetic by some.


Owen began by encouraging staff to focus on the things they can control, such as providing excellent customer service, but her tone soon changed when she admonished her staff for worrying about bonuses, saying: “Don’t ask about ‘what are we going to do if we don’t get a bonus?’ Get the damn $26 million.”


MillerKnoll has yet to decide on bonus payouts for staff as its fiscal year ends in May. In 2022, Owen’s compensation was nearly $5 million, while the median employee income at MillerKnoll was $44,810.


Despite the company’s statement that Owen believes in her team, some social media users criticized her approach. The past few years have been difficult for businesses catering to office life, such as MillerKnoll’s, as hybrid work has become the norm for many businesses in the US.


Overall, it is important for bosses to be mindful of the tone they use when addressing employees, especially when discussing topics such as bonuses. By focusing on maintaining a respectful and empathetic approach, companies can foster a positive work culture that values and motivates its workers.