People are the most important asset (and most easily disposed of)

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, July 19, 2011, 10:35 PM | comments: 0

I was catching up with a friend today, and the subject of her job satisfaction came up. She was telling me about the turnover in the company, rooted largely in the fact that the people there were treated like crap. Reminds me a lot of the last company I worked in, where no one had been there more than six months, other than the owners, and no one I worked with is still there.

I've seen a lot of businesses fail miserably, or fall short of their potential, and not looking after their people seems to be a recurring theme. The size and scope of the business doesn't seem to matter. It happens at all levels. I'm not talking about paying people a ton of money, I'm just talking about the fundamental act of treating them like human beings.

Very few businesses consist of one person. But I don't think many businesses see their people as an important asset to their success, or that they, to some degree, are accountable for their well-being. I'm not suggesting that people are entitled to a free ride, or that they are free of any accountability. But the decisions you make running a business have massive effects on a great many people.

When I've played out entrepreneurial endeavors in my head, the place I always get stuck is hiring people. I know you need people to grow and accomplish more of, whatever you do, but if you make poor decisions, and have to let the people go, you put them and their families at risk. I think that's more frightening than getting laid-off yourself.

The funny thing is, when you really go to bat for your people, they'll do the same for you, in my experience. Sure, some will take advantage of it, but hopefully you don't hire those people in the first place.

I hope my friend manages to cut through the crap, and if not, I hope she can find a place with less crap. I know they exist. I've worked for them, even if it was only two or three levels up. Life is too short to be treated like crap for a dollar.


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