The first half of this essay is addressed to my fellow CEOs or upper management. The second half is addressed to employees.
I suggest that we, as employers, treat our employees as valuable assets regarding pay, benefits and working conditions. They are not just an expense to be minimized. They make our business work and treating them better is not just the moral thing to do, but, in my experience, their productivity and our profitability will be better. Employees will be motivated to do their best, not out of fear but because they like working for us and believe we value their work.
Our business model is to use part time employees but to provide generous benefits: flex time, annual raises, profit sharing bonuses, 401k contributions, health care and paid time off. Of course, this costs the business money and takes time to administer. But we have better employee morale. Employees continuously suggest ideas to make the business better and are eager to try new approaches. They don’t have to be pushed to get work done. There is minimal turnover, which saves us a tremendous amount of time because hiring is so labor intense.
Treating employees well is contrary to the “bottom line” approach that pushes management to maximize profit at the expense of employees, customers, vendors, the community and the nation. Perhaps this approach may raise profits short term, but ultimately I suspect these businesses are more likely to fail due to poor productivity, inability to hire enough quality employees and avoidance by consumers.
For employees, my message is to think of yourself as a partner in the business (except for businesses in which thinking is discouraged). How would you act if this were your business? Although you may not get your way much of the time (even the owner cannot do that but must compromise with others), you can try to make the business more successful. It will help the business and likely will help your career.
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Beautiful way of summing up the two ends of the string, for excellent outcome.