By Richard Branson
Employees are your most valuable resource. Yet many companies ignore and treat their employees poorly. Our system has fallen into a self-reinforcing command loop construct as follows: Increase shareholder value at all costs without regard for the human factor. Sadly, if you do not cure the cancer in the root of the tree, not only with the branches and leaves die; but so will the tree.
I have seen many employers take loyal employees for granted. They assume they will not leave so they refuse to give in to any of their requests whether it be a pay raise or even extra vacation. Employees want to be compensated fairly for their workload and contribution, but money is only one factor. Most people want to feel appreciated and valued at work. They want autonomy and flexibility. When they have ownership for their work, they feel and act more responsibly towards the well-being of an organization. Moreover, employees are less prone to be dissatisfied when they know there is room to learn, grow, take on additional responsibility and move up the ladder.
When a company loses a great employee it causes the other employees to have reason to start thinking, “Why would that person leave the organization, and why would the organization let them get away? Perhaps I should start looking elsewhere myself.” Not only will other employees question it, but clients often question it as well. When clients trust an employee and that employee leaves, the clients begin to feel a sense of loss. The ripple effect of losing a great employee is tremendous and it goes well beyond what is easily quantified.
Julie sent me this:
“My company went out of their way to accommodate me while my husband was in hospice care, never asking about how much PTO time I had, never asking how many hours I put in. I give my all at every job I work at, but now I give 110% because of the respect and compassion that my employer gave to me. Then when he died, they even gave me 3 extra days. That was nine years ago and guess what, I still work there. This company has my loyalty till I retire.”
Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to. Employees are a company’s greatest asset. They are your competitive advantage. They are your best brand ambassadors. Your brand position is determined by the customer’s experience. The experience is delivered by your front line employees. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the business. Your employees know your customers best. They use your internal tools and systems every day. They have the answers on how to improve customer service and your products. They have the solutions on how to improve systems which can save money by driving efficiencies.
Employees are the backbone of any organization. In order to remain strong in an industry, employees have to be kept happy. Happy employees are always willing to do more, they will go to great lengths to help the company grow. Charity begins at home. If you want to get the best out of your employees – Treat them well.