What We Care About - There Our Focus Shall Be

Recently I have had interesting conversations with two individuals that are in very different career fields. Both conversations centered on their work place and how they feel employees continue to be treated worse. In the first conversation the person has worked for 19 years with the same organization only to continue to see benefits cut and pay increases decrease every year. The owners seem to care about the customers and demanding that their employees serve their customers, yet view their employees as just a cog in the machine. In the second conversation the employee was let go because the company sold off the part of the organization they were with and it was determined they wouldn’t be kept on. They were only with their organization for 2 years, but a colleague was there for 28 years who was also let go.

As I get older my eyes are opened up to the realities of the world we live in. We all know that in business there are times that we have to let people go. Companies grow, shrink and change in a multitude of ways that make some positions unnecessary. Too often I hear stories of leadership making decisions based on a false notion that to be a successful business the employee comes last. Nobody will argue that to be a successful business you need to make sure you are taking care of your customers and your bottom line. Understanding the customer, what they want and making sure you are able to deliver for them is vital. Your customers are your life-line, no customers your business fails. You also need to make sure that you are profitable. Businesses have ups and downs but you have to be able to turn a profit to actually stay in business.

It is the third leg of the stool that I would argue is the most important – the employees. It is the people within a company that will determine how well your customers are taken care of and how healthy your bottom line is. If an employee doesn’t believe that the company they work for cares about them it is only natural and a matter of time that most individuals subconsciously start caring about their jobs less and less. They begin doing what is required of them, just what is stated in their job description. Even if they survive the latest cuts their behavior is forever altered because they become afraid on some level that they might be next. The companies that succeed, their employees know that they are cared for and they respond by caring more for the company. That translates into paying attention to the ways that you can go above and beyond to help a customer or make changes that positively impact the bottom line.

Though, not everyone is in a leadership position where they can actually impact how employees are treated, we can all care more about the people we work with. When you get to know your teammates on a personal level and believe in helping each other be successful, transformation happens in the workplace. Layoffs and other changes that negatively impact employees will still happen, but hopefully as we shift our culture from consumerism to caring we will see a rise in a new type of leader. Leaders that ask how many employees they can hire and still have a healthy profit margin rather than how few employees they need to not hurt the business. Leaders that care less about their mega bonus and stock shares and care more that the company can provide the best benefits for their employees possible. Leaders that care will develop employees that care…employees that care will transform your business. We can all start caring a little more about people than we used to, let's see where that gets us, the current things we care about don't seem to be working that well.

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