Updated: May 6
An employee who is happy and well cared for will be a far more productive and reliable employee than one who is not.
Entrepreneur Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group of companies (including Virgin Airlines and Virgin Records), even wrote about it. “Your employees are your company’s real competitive advantage. They’re the ones making the magic happen – so long as their needs are being met.”
The Gallup organization identifies five essential areas of well-being in life. They are career, social, physical, financial, and community. If employees are experiencing well-being in those areas, they are significantly less likely to:
Look for a different employer within the next year
Miss work for health-related reasons
They are also much more likely to recover completely from sickness or injury.
There are numerous ways to treat employees with consideration and dignity. Some of them are quite obvious such as open communication, opportunities for career advancement, and comprehensive benefits. There are also awards (and other forms of recognition) for performance, and recreational events such as company outings. Parties that are open to employee family members reinforces a feeling of community in the workplace.
Another dimension to caring for employees is a more personal dimension. This involves creating a culture in which leaders and supervisors take a genuine interest in employees’ lives. If someone is going through a divorce, for example, ask how they’re doing and feeling. Ask how their kids are doing and if there's anything they need.
Notice when employees seem distracted or upset. Let them know you’re available to chat whether it’s a work-related problem or not.
Take an interest in who the employee’s spouse or significant other is. Suggest a cool birthday or holiday gift, or a great romantic getaway.
In short, find ways of signaling that you really care for them as human beings. Come up with creative ways to go that extra mile. This is especially important during times of individual or collective crises. Employees need to know that they really matter and not just a “means to an end” for their employer.
John Hall writes in Forbes magazine: “Employees who feel valued and appreciated by their leaders are infinitely more likely to go above and beyond for the company and hold themselves accountable for their part of a project.” And in the words of Richard Branson, “Take care of your employees, and they will take care of your business. As simple as that.”