The Gift of/to Employees
Our annual holiday focus on nontechnical topics finds us pondering the relationship between personal and corporate success. A number of resources have passed through my hands in the past year that could be instructive. Let’s take a look at what we can learn.
An article by John Graham titled “Everyday Attitudes that Kill Success” lists 14 attitudes of workers that will reduce their personal chance of success. We have heard many of them before, but taking a look at them, I found that at least five of the 14 are poor attitudes that could be created by their management/workplace. These include: “For what I get paid, I do more than enough. They’ll see what happens when I leave; it’ll take three people to replace me. My ideas are not important. Unless I get paid extra, I shouldn’t have to do it.” Are we as managers contributing to these types of attitudes by the corporate culture we have established?
A human capital column in FORTUNE magazine talked about companies developing an internal market for talent. Companies like Apple, Google, Microsoft and Facebook have actually bought start-ups in order to acquire their talent. Their logic is that “excellent engineers can cost $1 million to $2 million just to get them on board.”
Alcoa uses an informal approach initiated by the CEO, Klaus Kleinfeld. He brings the whole executive team into a room for two days to discuss succession planning and talent development. It may cause some internal competition for workers, but Kleinfeld says such competition is “great because you want this vibrancy inside your company so talent knows that if you are great, you have an opportunity.”
The FORTUNE column author, Geoff Colvin, says, “Today, human capital is the most valuable capital in every company, no matter what industry it is in.”
Attracting good people is about having a great place to work. Corporate culture that values these employees and their contributions is one of the things that makes your business a great place to work.
It just so happens that FORTUNE also puts out an issue summarizing the “100 Best Companies to Work For.” What can we learn from the companies that made the list in 2016? I noticed that there are no companies in our industry that made the top-100 list. Want to be the first?
It appears that valuing employees is the key way to get there. Different corporate cultures reflect this differently, but compensation is definitely part of the discussion. There’s no way to know about salaries, but 14 companies in the top 50 awarded healthy profit-sharing bonuses or provided other attractive perks such as fully compensated health care, large 401(k) matches and/or gifts and paid sabbaticals to name just a few. It’s interesting that only seven of the second 50 provided these types of benefits. One company in the top 50 actually awarded a $100,000 bonus to every employee after a particularly good year.
What can you do to make your company a place people want to work? What changes can be made to corporate culture to help employees realize they are valued? As FORTUNE’s editorial for the Best Companies issue says, “Creating a successful business culture isn’t easy. But it is more important than ever before.”
Bob Chapman, the author of Everybody Matters, the Extraordinary Power of Caring for Your People Like Family, explains that “caring” means making sure they’re safe, they get a chance to discover their gifts, they get a chance to be appreciated for their gifts and they realize their potential.
Chapman’s discussion of gifts brings me back to the upcoming holidays. At Industrial Heating, we want everyone reading these words to know that they are valued by us, and we wish you the very best of this holiday season.