Humanizing the Idea of “Worker”

Gone are the days of tracking employees on a spreadsheet; no longer can they be considered numbers to be analyzed as profit margins. Without looking at a percentage, common sense can tell you that an employee appreciates being valued and treated as an essential part of a company. Employees are more than just a cog in a machine. Without the employees at the bottom of the ladder, the big boys at the top don't exist, and this is something that should be noticed.

Your customers see the employees on the front line the moment they walk in, let's take a bank, for example. I was at my local banking institution recently, the first thing I see as I walk in is the teller line. After waiting, I am called up to conduct my business, and the woman helping me must have been the most miserable person I have come across in a long time. Not only did this leave a sour taste in my mouth, it led me to look at others around the office, and, sure enough, no one looked happy. Now, the final and worst outcome is a loss of business due to overtly unhappy staff, which quickly translates to customer dissatisfaction.

If a CEO or VP takes time away from head office to visit employees across the country, or even just at offices around the city, it is known. But, it feels more like big news when, really, this could be a yearly occurrence. What does it take to visit employees once a year to shake hands and see how everyone is doing? You may not remember their names, but this is something that makes employees at every level feel valued, which in turn leads to happiness.

A machine can be neglected, it can run 24/7, you can grease its wheels and it's good as new. This is not the case for humans. Believe it or not, humans need a sense of importance, and they most certainly do not run 24/7. It is proven that an employee who is happy at their workplace will work harder without being asked to do so, and 24/7 cannot and should not be expected.

A workplace is meant for working, but some room for fun will benefit your company in the long run. Enact some employee activities or social dates. For example, employee bowling night is a chance for those interested to eat some food, have some drinks, win a prize and just enjoy the company of their co-workers on a Thursday night. Games in the workplace is not a new concept (remember team building exercises?). This is a branch of that exact technique, but without the feel of summer camp.

Aside from activities, which can be extremely difficult to organize in a larger company, making employees feel valued is essential to the overall brand of your company, no matter what category your business falls under. Think of a time when you experienced exceptional customer service, an employee who absolutely blew your mind, and you just knew “wow this person is happy.” An employee like this has the potential to brighten any customers day, most importantly because service like that can be few and far between, customers will remember your service over the mundane service they receive daily. If your business does not include direct customer service, your employees are still most likely interacting with customers on the phone or at meetings. In a similar sense their happiness will translate to the client. It has been said, you can hear a smile on the phone and this is 100% true.

Let's keep this in mind when we speak of that “guy” in accounting, that “guy” in accounting most likely has a name, a job and that “guy” simply needs a sense of recognition. If every employee had the mentality that their company wouldn't survive without them, we would live in an ideal world. But, implement some of the tips mentioned, and most importantly remember your employees are not a machine. A machines needs no recognition, it needs no satisfaction of a job well-done, it needs no boss, or manager, all a machine needs is maintenance. Human employees also need a form of maintenance — emotional maintenance.  

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