By far, the #1 asset any business has is its people. Too many corporations focus on the short-term metrics…. the arbitrary benchmarks established in the 1980 proliferation of shareholder value over employee happiness. We’re starting to see a reversal of that trend and Costco CEO Jim Sinegal might have said it best in a Fast Company interview in response to a question about Wall Street investors …”people in that business are trying to make money between now and next Thursday. We’re trying to build a company that’s going to be here 50 and 60 years from now”.
From personal experience, I fully believe that taking care of your people drives more top line growth than anything. In college, I worked as a CNC operator at a small business in my hometown. One of the highlights of working there wasn’t the yearend bonus we received if we hit our number (which was nice), but rather the way the leaders within the company made us feel valued as employees. Simple things like telling us how much they appreciated our work at every opportunity…or by asking how we were doing when we passed by in the hall. And truly, one of the most appreciated aspects that every employee raved about was the company retreat. When we had been working long hours to hit an objective, or just bogged down for any reason, the company had a beautiful property with a private lake, exclusively for employees to relax and recharge. I’m sure that didn’t have a positive immediate impact on “shareholder value”, but it certainly made the employees more loyal, harder working, and engaged with their teams. The owners of that company saw the benefits that come from taking care of their people through the development of a strong culture and long term business success.
Here is a link to the full interview at Fast Company with Jim Sinegal:
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