Employees Want to be Valued
Employees make everything happen in a business. They answer the phones, sell, make and ship products, keep us financially fit and represent the company to our customers. Without dedicated employees, we would not have a business.
Southwest Airlines is known for its “employee first” culture. Dave Ridley, a retired 27-year Southwest senior executive and now a Senior Advisor to the CEO, told LeTourneau University, “At Southwest we believe profitability and culture go hand in hand. As you treat your people well—which goes beyond compensation—they will treat the customer well. And the customer will come back. In addition, people who enjoy their work environment are generally more productive. Plus, there's less turnover—which is enormously expensive. There’s also a greater capacity to overcome obstacles. In business you’re going to have changes in economic conditions, competitive pressures, and a host of unpredictable variables. But when people work together in a collegial fashion, the organization can overcome these challenges much more consistently and effectively.”
Mr. Ridley added, “When I started working for Southwest, I worked three levels below founder Herb Kelleher. Within weeks, he knew my wife and children’s names, what my outside interests were, and a lot about my background. I knew within three months of going to work at Southwest that Herb would fall on a grenade for me or any member of my family. His love for people was palpable. When people know that leadership cares that much about them, they’ll do remarkable things for that leader—and for the organization.”
We are reminded of an employee engagement culture created by a Midwest pharmaceutical manufacturer. In accordance with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) facility-wide workers were not allowed to have food in their areas. The company stopped operations three times daily for breaks and lunch, bringing employees of all levels together in the cafeteria to share tables, conversation and food. Over the years, countless friendships were formed and an equal number of solutions to business problems were identified at those tables.
When was the last time you thanked an employee for their contribution to the company’s success and asked two simple questions?
- How are you enjoying your work?
- What can we do to make your job more satisfying?