Business Is Personal
When they ask what is most important in business, we should always say the people.
How many times have we heard “it’s not personal, it’s just business?” I grew up with that message instilled in my brain and experienced it when working with semi large companies like Dillards, Eureka, Levis Strauss, and many others. It was all about the bottom line and how to make things better for higher profits and how we can do more, to produce more, to make more. This has been the culture and most of us have all worked with the understanding that employees are hired to do a job, and must do what they are told, including how and when to do it, in order to be guaranteed a paycheck without any feedback. It’s just business, not personal. Decisions are customarily made at the top and employees get the memo without any discussion. I personally can’t recall ever being asked about what motivated me or what was important and beneficial to the life I was living. That could be part of the reason I never stuck around for very long and ended up becoming an entrepreneur. Please understand that I totally get that we as employers absolutely need to have job descriptions, procedures in place, sales expectations and the right of high level of job performance, but should there be more?
I recently had a conversation with a marketing specialist who was giving me her advise on my presentation for business owners, CEOs, HR Managers, and C-Suite Executives, which is primarily geared towards the beneficial outcome of employee motivation, happiness and retention. Her response to me was to focus on increased productivity and efficiency because “business owners and decisions makers just do not care about the happiness of their employees.” WHAT?! I could not believe what I was hearing. How can people not care? In my mind, employees are what are most important. Needless to say, my presentation remains the same, however, after that conversation I realized that I only want to work with companies who do care, because I care. Profits, productivity and efficiency are important, but, the truth is that when we put people first, the rest will absolutely and inevitably follow.
Right now there is an ongoing issue, or phenomenon, called the Great Attrition, in which employees are leaving their jobs in large numbers and now companies are struggling to retain staff and attract qualified talent. According to an article by McKinsey & Company in July 2022 titled The Great Attrition is making hiring harder. Are you searching the right talent pools?, 33% of those leaving is because of “uncaring and uninspiring leaders.” Let’s think about that for a moment. Our employees feel like we don’t care. The same people getting things done and driving our profits are seeking something more than just a paycheck. We obviously care about them showing up and performing, but have we lost touch with who they are, what they need, and what motivates them?
There is a vlog by Tim Hagen: Do you know your employees motivation? where he talks about the above mentioned article, and the reality that employers certainly notice, and are aware when their employees are unmotivated, and genuinely seek insight from outside sources on how to increase their motivation, which is great. However, what Tim points out, is what typically doesn’t happen, which is that employers are not asking that very important question “what motivates you?” to the only people who can actually answer that question, their employees. This shift in mindset could have an overwhelming affect on not only how we do business, but how we see, treat and talk to the ones who are directly impacting our overall success.
My take away from all this, and my new way of doing business, is to intentionally start asking everyone I work with that important question, “what motivates you?” It will begin with the initial interview and carry on as a regular way of engaging and interacting with my staff. I have always taken this business, B Everywhere Errands, personally, and from now on, I will make sure it shows.
Thank you for reading this and I pray God blesses you, your family, business, employees and endeavors.