Yes, people. Not the product, not the brand, certainly not your social media presence. It all boils down to people. These are folks that run the marketing campaigns, contact leads, win customers, retain customers, support customers throughout their journey and do everything to ensure that the company they are working at is successful.
Yes, people are by far the greatest asset any company will ever have. I quite often see social media posts, and articles being written about the CEOs and leaders of how great of a job they did by growing their respective companies from 0 to X revenue and granted it’s a tough job. But often what ends up not getting enough attention is the fact that these leaders would’ve made it nowhere if it wasn’t for the people working behind the scenes, making sure that everything is running on time and correctly.
It’s a tough gig. And very seldom do the people who actually are the reason behind the greatness get the credit they deserve. I’m sick and tired of the pictures of the startup CEOs appearing in the blogposts without the whole workforce behind them. It’s as if they got to where they did all by themselves. So yeah, it grinds my gear that ordinary people that make the company special are not recognized and not getting enough attention.
Add bad treatment on top of this and that just throws you off the ledge. Yup, we all have been treated badly at one point or another in our careers. By companies that we gave everything to. If you don’t know this feeling, cherish that my friend, because it’s a gut punch and boy does it suck.
I was reading this article somewhere, in that article it was mentioned that they surveyed hundreds of thousands of employees and one thing that was common amongst them (other than the fact that they worked for someone else) was that vast majority of them did not feel like that the company they work for gives a crap about them, as an individual.
Let that sink in. A vast majority of people saying that the companies they work, that they devote most of their waking hours to, does not care for them. It’s heartbreaking. Sure, some can argue that maybe people are expecting too much and you should have thick skin. Or it’s an unfair assessment of the employers out there. That very well could be the case.
Look, I get it. There are two sides to everything. Different perspective depending on how and from where you are looking. But we can all agree that a company is nothing without the people that are working there.
I would argue that a company is the people. Product, marketing, dev ops, sales are a distant second. People are the ones that make everything tick and I want to bring about change in any small way that I can. Ensuring that people are treated better at every company and what we as employers can do to make sure that folks feel appreciated working with us.
Ok, now that we got the context out of the way, the issue we all understand I believe to a certain degree really well. So let’s dig in to some ways employers can do a better job.
This is a big one. There is this trend, now that we have the remote work taking over and companies have that option to hire talent from all over the globe. That they pay people according to the country they are in. So someone who lives in New York would be paid 2-3 times more than their counterpart in India.
For the same job done. For same level of skill set. How is that fair? You’re telling me that someone who lives in India or Pakistan is working less harder than the person based out of London? Of course not.
That’s just non sensical even saying it out loud. It does not make any sense. So why the discrepancy? Companies are already saving money by hiring these folks from different countries as contractors, and not only that, they don’t have to pay for health care for the contractors. No office space needed. In most cases the contractors are the ones that are paying for their work computers.
Employers are in what we call a win-win situation. They don’t need to guarantee the contractors the jobs. They can be let go at will and to cherry on top of the cake is the pay discrepancy.
Look I get it. It genuinely can be tough to pay everyone the same wage when you see other companies not following the same rules and paying a wildly different rate based on where the candidates are based out of. But you can break through that cycle just by coughing up the extra $$ and leading from the front.
When you pay people fairly, you are not only doing a good job as an employer. You are also telling the people that work for you that you actually give a crap about them. About their well being. A lot of the people out there enjoy working for the companies they work for. But the main reason why they are working is because they need the money.
Companies that pay the employees fairly can almost guarantee a higher level of employee retention and loyalty. The relationship is give and take. You cannot expect people to work hard for you, work late and take care of your business but not be fair to them in return.
It does not work like that and it’s 100% a disaster in the making. Don’t be cheap, pay people fairly and you will go far as an employer and company. Do better.
Get out of the way
The worst possible thing that companies can do when they are hiring people is that they bring them in and try to mould the people in to how the companies work. Same goes for managers.
I get it, some training and moulding is needed, like for instance the tools that you use, CRM, etc. Yeah, that’s all game. Train people on those tools but what you want to avoid is directing them on how they should do their job.
I learned this the hard way, and that’s everyone has a different style of working and you cannot push them to work the way you do. It just won’t yield any results. Instead, once the onboarding is completed. Let them choose how they should work, guide them, always be there for them and then get out of their way.
There is no faster way to kill innovation and independence of people than to direct them constantly. It’s a waste of talent and money if you start telling people how to do their jobs. Let them do it the way they see fit and see what kind of results they generate. Perhaps their approach will be better than the current one you have in place.
Their fresh perspective is what the company needed in order to make changes that will massively benefit everyone. Let people explore things, do things based on their experience and I promise you something great will come out of it.
If you suppress people and their creativity, the net result will almost always be disastrous. Set your ego aside. Hired a new VP? Hand over the blank canvas over to them and let them run the show.
Let them show you what they are capable of and keep your bias out of it. You hired them because (I hope) they are the subject matter expert in what they do. There is no need to intervene until and unless it’s requested by the individual themself or see some trouble brewing.
People are not robots. They cannot just show up to work everyday at 9am, not complain and give their 100%. It just does not happen. There are a lot of variables when you are working with people.
They might have a family, kids that might need to be taken to the doctors, or they have a parent teacher meeting at their kid’s school. Maybe they need to go to the dentist in the middle of the day, or the bank.
There are a multitude of different things that people might need to do in any given week and that is OK. People have other responsibilities and they need to show up for those and you need to let them. You cannot shun them just because their daughter has ballet lessons at 3pm every Wednesday.
Work will always be there, give everyone the flexibility to run their schedule the way they see fit. It will be a massive weight lifted off of the shoulders of your employees. Don’t make them feel guilty for going to run an errand in the middle of the day. I promise you most people already feel guilty enough, you don’t need to add on top of it.
Be understanding and make sure you communicate if there is a pattern of behavior that you don’t like. That’s fine, most people will understand. But the ultimate goal here should be to be understanding and knowing that people have a life outside of work.
Work does not take priority and never should over people’s lives.
There are a lot more things that I can write here on this topic but I want to keep it concise. To appreciate the people that work with you, there are a lot of things that can be done differently. I think if every company focuses on the 3 things mentioned above and implements them. 90% of all issues will get resolved.
I look at this way. Imagine buying a car that you really love. You wash it, take care of it, make sure that you drive it carefully so you don’t get in to an accident. You don’t want to scratch it, you wax it, you polish it, essentially you are taking care of it throughout the course of your ownership of that automobile.
That is how you foster the relationship with your employees. You take care of them. You make sure that all their needs are met when they are met, you helped them grow, be patient and most importantly be kind. You do all that and go above and beyond for your employees and I guarantee you won’t get those really crappy glassdoor reviews. Ha. But the key is to be genuine and actually give a crap.
Let’s collectively make sure we do a better job and give people a great place to work in that they truly deserve.