A couple of days ago, I was pretty forward with you guys about your responsibilities as both employees and employers.
It’s easy to assume that one will regularly take advantage of the other – even in the current tight job market. It doesn’t make any sense, but it’s been going on forever so my guess is that it’ll continue.
Even the current education reform arguments are full of us vs. them employee/employer tension and rhetoric. You, of course, can put an end to it if you like.
The current employment/economy situation in general reminds me of a story General Schwartzkopf tells about the First Gulf War.
“…You can look at the number of tanks, you can look at the number of airplanes, you can look at all these factors of military might and put them together. But unless the soldier on the ground, or the airman in the air, has the will to win and the strength of character to go into battle, believes his cause is just, and has the support of his country, all the rest of that stuff is irrelevant.”
Employers face an identical issue, as did the commander of the once-feared Iraqi Republican Guard.
You can buy the best tools, have the best location, the best products and services, provide what you think is the best value, BUT as the General says: “…all that stuff is irrelevant.”
You’d better also have the best staff. Best trained, best attitude and so on.
That goes for you too, since being the best in your market includes all those things, as well as paying a decent wage, continually training the people you have and providing the tools they need to succeed – and not looking at them with that “Hey, the job market stinks so I can pay you less, replace you in a heartbeat, work you more and treat you not quite as nice as I usually might” kind of attitude.
Because as Schwartzkopf says…the soldier on the ground might be the best and have the best to work with, but they can make your business irrelevant.
They’re on the front lines every day. They’re the ones answering the phones and greeting your customers. They’re the ones you expect to smile whether you’re standing there or not.
That teenager working her first job deserves at least as much consideration, training and attention as an employee as the “best” full-timer you have because she can run off your best customer in a heartbeat.
How’s that training expense seem now? Tiny, I’ll bet.
Treat your people like your most valuable investment – because that’s exactly what they are.
Employees have a similar burden
Sure, the job market is tight so you obviously want to deliver as much value as you can – that much is obvious.
Little things make a big difference.
Do you show up on time? If something happens and you’re going to be late, do you call? Do you arrive ready to kick some butt? Do you show up looking the part? Nails clean? Yeah, little stuff like that.
You might think that owner of yours is a rotten old cuss who is getting rich off your back. While that might be true (and I’ve suggested you create your own economy via your own small business as a way to cure yourself of that problem), it’s also true that the rotten old cuss has and continues to take risks and invest their money to create and sustain the business that pays you.
If you make $30k and have just 3 fellow employees, consider what has to happen for your checks to clear each week.Â At the very least, they’ve got to take in at least $3000 a week just to make your checks clear (and set aside money for their part of payroll taxes).
Zig Ziglar once said that you should consider yourself self-employed whether you have a job or not. Do the job as if you owned the place, because it reflects on you.
You never know if that customer in front of you will someday be your boss, or better – your best customer (of your own business) or even the one who suggests to the person who owns your business that they’d be nuts not to promote you and give you a raise because of the amazing job you did for them.
You’re the one who makes your boss’ business more competitive on the ground level – and that’s what makes sure it’s there to pay you tomorrow.