Many leaders and organizations intellectually understand that, when they invest in their employees in the form of great salaries, benefits or training, they get greater performance from them and make more money. While this is a straight-forward concept, many organizations ignore it because their company culture emphasizes profit over everything else. This puts leaders in the position of trying to help their employees feel great but focusing on profits the majority of the time.
We have been taught that we should maximize profits and then think of everything else later. We even say things like, “Well, if we don’t make money there are no employees.” There’s nothing wrong with this philosophy, it’s just that it puts the cart before the horse by only looking at the end result of our efforts. Savvy leaders and organizations are starting to realize that meaningful investment up front can pay off big in the long run even if it’s not tied to making money immediately.
This is a new way of thinking that creates a shift shift from exclusively profit-centered thinking to employee-centered thinking. This type of leaders creates a workplace that highlights employee well-being, growth and work environment as an end of its own rather than an adjunct to making money. Leaders like this focus first on their employees as they start building the framework for a workplace that revolves around employees. The rationale being that happy employees create more productive companies.
There are many ways to start investing in employees first. One of the most practical is to start a conversation about what employee-centered workplaces are. Ask yourself the following questions to begin exploring what it means to you:
1. What would my workplace look like if my employees were motivated from within?
2. What would my organization look like if everyone had strong support for their education and growth?
3. In what ways would happier employees benefit my company?
4. What would my retention rates look like if my employees were consistently happy?
5. What would my profits look like if I had a happy and motivated workforce?
6. How can I reward my employees in addition to paying them well?
7. What do my employees think of me as an owner/manager/supervisor?
As you start asking these questions you’ll create opportunities to restructure your organization to be an employee-centered workplace. Imagine how your company would benefit from having a happy, motivated workforce. The next phase is planning and implementing the initiatives that arise from the conversations you will have with your leadership and staff.
Any leader or organization can begin this process, it just takes the will and vision of the people at the top and their commitment to keep it going. What will you do to create an employee-centered workplace?