I believe this to be misguided; I feel that if CEOs make their employees their only priority, all other corporate needs and accomplishments will fall in line.
While many in business measure their ‘success’ with assets personally acquired, or building financial stockpiles, I’ve always felt the true measure of success in my career is the number of employees who have left my employ and accomplished great things.
Hardly a week goes by that this isn’t reinforced as I hear from former employees telling me what they learned while working with me, and how it changed their life.
I’m so proud of these people and happy for their success.
How do corporate leaders embark on a path of making employees the number one priority?
There are some rather simple, and obvious ways:
- Respect for each and every employee, no matter their status or responsibility
- Regular personal interaction with employees at all levels
- Believing every employee is capable of achieving levels of success they’ve previously been told are out of reach
- Delegating and encouraging management and department heads to empower employees to take initiative and make decisions
- Trusting your employees to make the right decisions
- Providing opportunities and access to tools that assist employee growth
- When an employee decides to move on, support and assist them with the transition
- Cultivating new managers and department heads from the inside; these are the building blocks for your growth and expansion
- Taking a holistic interest in your employees, being aware of their life outside of work
- Leading by example – you have the big title, office, and pay. Doesn’t mean you can’t change a light bulb, empty your own trash can, or make the next pot of coffee
- Accepting that successes are the result of the team’s efforts, yet failures rest solely on your shoulders, and make sure the team knows that
- No-brainer: praise in public, criticize in private
- Always taking the long view in your decision making
- Don’t couch the truth – when something happens in the company or marketplace that will mean substantial changes for or within the company, don’t tell the rank and file that “no changes are anticipated” when you know there will be some – or many
My qualifications for making these pronouncements come from employing these methods in all size of companies, from start-ups to multinationals, all over the world, and seeing success come as a result of the practices, even under the most unlikely circumstances, such as:
- Taking a division of a multinational that had never made a profit in eight decades of operation and having it profitable within six months
- Convincing the Chinese government to allow live, uncensored bilingual broadcasting for the first time in history
- Creating new products and services organically, at little or no cost, that went on to become big money makers
You can achieve success beyond your own, your employees, your investors, or board members expectations – by starting on the path of top to bottom employee respect.
CEO Consulting, Employee Morale