Just today, the man who works in the dry cleaning shop asked if he could come work for me. Last week it was a guy at a restaurant, a man at a car upholstery shop, someone at a small market I visited, and a fellow whom I met while walking down the street.
Are these homeless, unemployed guys looking for work? No, they all are gainfully employed.
What’s that all about?
I’m pretty sure it has to do with respect and dignity. All of these people are foreigners from developing nations who are here in this country to work. They are marginalized in society and looked down upon.
When I meet them and interact with them, I see them as important because they are a person and deserve respect. I treat them with honor and dignity, no matter who they are and what part of society the belong to. Of course they want to work for me. If I was them, I would want to work for me, too.
Licking the Taco Shells
Maybe you saw the picture that went viral this week about an employee at a taco franchise who was photographed licking a stack of taco shells. I don’t know this guy, but I do know that he doesn’t care about the reputation of his employer. I have little doubt that he feels very little respect and dignity from his company. It’s only a job, and he will move on when something else better comes along. (He probably already is gone!)
I think there is a lesson here for all of us who are leaders, managers, and employers.
Are we the kind of captains that make our crew members stick around for more than a paycheck? We can be, if we will work at it and treat employees with regard and consideration.
One Radical Example
I’m always intrigued by management’s attitudes in nearly all companies when the hiring/firing cycle is tied to the ups and downs of economy. What do we say to employees when we “let them go” because there is s slow-down int the economy?
I would rather have a company meeting and let the employees decide between 2 choices: letting some of their co-workers go or everyone (including executives and management) taking a small pay cut. Let the employees decide. My guess is that most employees would vote to take a 15% pay cut if they knew that their friends’ jobs, and possibly their own job in the future, were secured by it.
What it would do is build a team spirit where employees are not disposable commodities, but an integral part of the enterprise? I believe it would change the whole nature of the company and the attitudes of the employees.
A radical idea, but one worth investigating.
Question for discussion: What do you think of the idea of hiring employees “for life” and letting all employees take a pay cut to make sure that nobody gets laid off? Is that a good idea?