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Employees are company’s most important asset December 4, 2008

Posted by Jeremy in Business, Resourcing.
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Okay, so I am not sure that this completely fits in the realm of efficiency, green, technology, or many of the other things I talk about but I think it is very important.  I think it is of key importance to any business.  I truly believe that employees are a business’s most important asset.  I know that isn’t the idea that many businesses run under but I am a firm believer in that concept.  If you treat people well they will treat you and your customers well and in return your business will do well.  Vice versa is also true.

I just found an interesting post on American Express’s OPEN site.  It is titled “As the Economy Declines Should We Expect Service to Increase?“.  In it the author describes an event that shows what happens when companies don’t encourage this type of attitude with their employees.  An excerpt of the scenario is:

“I was listening in to a customer call,” she said (you know, “this call may be monitored for training purposes.”) “And the customer was explaining a problem with the product. It wasn’t an area of expertise for the employee and so I expected her to say something like, “I’ll have to transfer you to the right department.” However what the employee said was shocking:

“I really don’t care.”

Now does this necessarily mean that the company was the problem and the employee didn’t have a bad attitude?  Of course not, you can always get a bad apple but there are questions the business should be asking. 

First of all, how do I increase morale in my business?  This is important.  And… no it isn’t a “Beatings will continue until morale improves” scenario.  Many times employees are put in scenarios where the customers are unhappy and no one is listening to the employee’s ideas so they feel powerless to help.  This can be a huge drain on morale.  There are many things can lend to decreased morale.

Second question, are my employees a high priority in my business and do I demonstrate that?  When the economy slowed what was the businesses reaction to compensate?  Did it pull back on benefits?  Did you freeze wages?  Did the perks stay the same?  Have people been laid off and others asked to pick up the load?  Many of these things are understandable but remember what these decisions portray to your employees.

Third question, do I empower my employees?  Do ask for your employee’s ideas on projects?  Do you listen to feedback?  Do you delegate big projects to employees?  If employees feel like they are trusted and valued to handle tasks they will take on an ownership mindset.  They will focus on the benefit of the organization. 

Obviously, there are many other issues that should be considered.  There are many times where layoffs are the right decision and where you can’t delegate to every employee but I would say you need to consider how those items are handled.  Also, they shouldn’t be every day occurrances.  Many morale issues are fairly easy to solve if they are handled early but will quickly snowball if not dealt with.  As simple as it is with employees the old Golden Rule of “Do unto others as you would want done to you” can be a very valid technique to keep morale up.  Value your employees just as you would want to be valued.  If you don’t they may not value your customers.

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