Employees are the most valuable resource

Are CEO’s, directors, and managers beginning to wake-up and smell the truth that others have known all along? Will big cheese bosses change mindsets from profit to people, from products to people, from power to empowering people?

“The idea that a company might be good to its employees has become so unusual that some people do not even think it is possible,” surmises Dan Lyons in a 2018 article at Literary Hub.Lyon continues, “The grow-at-all-costs business model makes employees miserable, and it does this almost by design. Worse, the model doesn’t really work, at least not if you’re trying to produce a healthy, profitable organization that can sustain itself.” www.lithub.com/. You go Dan! I’m your new fan.

What happens when employees are overworked, overwhelmed, and underpaid? Job stress.

What happens when bosses are bullies? Job stress. What happens when the work environment is toxic? Job stress.

Most non-profit community mental health centers measure a counselor’s worth by productivity—how many face-to-face hours you spend with clients each week (that determines what Medicaid pays out). It doesn’t matter if the client doesn’t show up because of icy weather, sickness, or lack of transportation. At monthly meetings, a productivity sheet is passed around so the entire workforce can see who met or did not meet their productivity—I call it a humiliation tactic. And what happens to counselors that do not consistently meet productivity? What do you think happens? And by the way, humiliation is not a constructive motivator.

Each year Fortune magazine teams up with a research organization, Great Place to Work, to generate a list of the hundred best employers in the United States. Is your employer on this list?

A 2016 article in Forbes reported the five following things that employees want: adequate salary, good health benefits, work-life balance, opportunities for advancement and professional development, and a sense of purpose. www.forbes.com/.

The yearly appreciation dinner is appreciated by employees; however ask them what they really want. The key is to give people things they actually value: decent wages, on-site childcare, reimbursement for college tuition, provide part-time workers with paid time off for sick days, vacations, and holidays, and yes, even healthcare benefits. Give workers praise and a raise—not one or the other. Treat employees with respect.

“Why should anyone need to make a business case for following the Golden Rule? We’re talking about pretty basic stuff, like treating fellow human beings with dignity and respect, and not discriminating against people because of their race, age, or gender. Are investors and business owners so far lost to humanity that the only way to get them to behave ethically and morally is to prove to them that this will make them a little bit richer?” proclaims Dan Lyons. He tells it all in two books: Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble (2017) and Lab Rats: How Silicon Valley Made Work Miserable for the Rest of Us (2018).

In 2016, The Atlantic conducted a series of interviews with 100 American workers from all walks of life and the stories were eye-openers. www.theatlantic.com/.

I did some consulting work with an employer in the healthcare field. When I suggested that he initiate a program for employee appreciation and recognition, he replied, “That’s what their paycheck is for.” Hmmm. Interesting. That old school mentality won’t fly with today’s ever-changing workforce. “The best leaders are humble enough to realize their victories depend upon their people,” asserts John C. Maxwell.

John Maxwell is an author, speaker, and pastor who has written many books, primarily focusing on leadership. He grew up in Circleville, Ohio. I met John at a conference many years ago, and he is one of my favorite authors. www.johnmaxwell.com.

What’s the takeaway from my article? People are a company’s greatest asset. And employees want to be treated with dignity and respect. “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” sang Aretha Franklin.

Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist.  She lives in Southern Ohio. www.melissamartinchildrensauthor.com.