Employees are the heartbeat of any organization, however occasionally I will come across a business or organization that seems to believe that in providing a job for an employee that they have the right to treat that employee with disrespect. While slavery is gone in most parts of the world, unfortunately there are leaders that still seem to look with disdain upon their “subordinates”.
There are many more reasons to treat employees well than can be listed in this article. However it has been proven that happy employees are more productive, have less turnover and save companies a considerable amount of money in the long run. We may not think that we owe anything more than a wage to our employees, however, there are several things that we do owe our employees and these include:
A safe environment: the focus on safety in some industries is at an all time high, yet creating a safe space to work includes more than just physical safety. As leaders we should be looking to create environments where our employees feel safe. This means that we need to work to curtail drama including bullying and psychological manipulation. We must protect employees from harmful external influences and ensure that our people feel that they can speak out when they think that they might be in harm’s way or are treated unjustly.
Fair Pay: Many regions have set minimum wages that business owners must pay employees However, owners need to be aware of what a living wage for their area is and strive to pay wages that will enable their employees a decent standard of living without having to take on multiple jobs to make ends meet. Unfortunately, most minimum wage systems built by government officials that don’t take into account that many of the lowest paid workers are teenagers who are supported by their parents. When minimum wages are bumped, it’s the owners who suffer at the benefit of youth. A more equitable system might include minimum wages based on age. Most business owners I know would love to pay their full-time employees more but are only marginally profitable themselves, and many times take home less than their top paid employees.
Leadership: Recently I had a business owner tell me that when he saw one of his employees working with inadequate shoes and realized that the employee couldn’t afford suitable shoes, he took off his shoes and gave them to his employee. This is a great example of leadership. In addition to extraordinary examples of leadership, most employees need us as leaders to provide a vision of where the company is going. They need to understand their roles and responsibilities within the company and they must hold everyone within the organization to the same level of accountability.
Consideration of their future: A good employer must consider his employees’ futures. This means they should be thinking ahead for employees who are going to be working for them for years or decades, and introduce strategies that ensure their financial stability after they retire. It also means that when employees are not happy working for them, they engage the employees in tough conversations that encourage them to move on.
Employees are the backbone of our organizations; we would not be successful in fulfilling our mission and vision without them. Employees need to understand that running an organization is stressful, and there are many challenges of leadership that are never seen or fully comprehended by the average person.
While we should be able to expect that fair transactions take place between employees and employers and we have obligations that go beyond the law. Great leaders understand that respectful treatment of employees makes a huge difference in enabling them to contribute to the advancement of the society around us.
Dave Fuller MBA, is an award-winning Professional Business Coach and the author of the book Profit Yourself Healthy. Dave would love to hear your feedback email firstname.lastname@example.org