The world of work has certainly changed a lot in western culture during the past 150 years. There have been major attitudinal shifts, to the extent it would be fair to say that most workers—for all their gripes and grievances—have never had it so good.
Unfortunately there has also been a downside, which is that people feel more vulnerable, and less trusting of their job security than ever before. This problem has partially come about due to the emergence of the corporation as an entity.
Far back in the past, the majority of even large businesses were family run establishments. Nepotism was not only rife, but actually expected. Nobody found it particularly wrong, even if the consequences of nepotism are often profoundly wrong.
Once corporations came along, businesses had an obligation to protect the best interests of their shareholders and that is where their loyalty started to slide. It is said that no man can serve two masters, so the issue of corporations emerging created a pivot point. Employers in those days clearly felt they either had to side with their shareholders as profits came before people.
However what we have seen—in the UK at least—during the past 10 or 15 years has been a new renaissance in the way employers think about this situation. Employers have begun to realise that employees are actually integral assets in the business structure.
What has happened is that a new class of entrepreneurs has arrived. They are quite different to the old brigade who sought division, strict hierarchy, and competition between their staff. The new trend is towards building strong, cohesive teams based on mutual respect. Employers no longer remain aloof, and work to earn the respect of their employees instead of demanding it due to their position.
One of the pioneers and principle evangelists of this new approach to employment policy is Reuben Singh, the man who first came to the attention of the public via his bold Miss Attitude venture, and is now the CEO of Isher Capital and alldayPA.
Of particular note is the innovative health policy that was introduced to alldayPA, which Singh allowed the employees to draft themselves. The obvious logic is that there is no way staff can feel unhappy about conditions that they have a hand in creating, and concepts like this build loyalty and cohesiveness.
The effect on the bottom line of business is that happy employees are loyal and productive employees, which must naturally result in greater profitability. A health plan is an inexpensive investment that has helped make staff feel that their employer values them. Staff retention rates are at an all time high, which saves on the cost of replacing skilled workers.
What has taken so long for business owners to realise that when business invests in employee satisfaction, the shareholders will benefit too? It does not have to be “either / or”, it can be a situation of mutual benefit.
Your business could probably benefit from adopting a democratic management model such as that which has been affected at alldayPA. Respect your employees and you will earn their trust.