I came across this quote whilst reading work by Simon Sinek – the renowned motivational speaker – check him out on YouTube.
We’ve all seen companies downsize their staff in turbulent financial times with no thought about the impact on those individuals, their families nor the overall drop in moral on the staff they keep.
Even when there isn’t a financial downturn, companies will often shred staff to reduce their payroll bill and thus increase their profits – more palatable for the shareholders – or is it?
I worked for a company for over 12 years. Just before the financial reporting, a round of redundancies would be announced to ensure the company retained it’s double digit growth. In reality, they haven’t grown at all. All they had done was culled their staff.
Simon’s point was what would happen if companies did the reverse? ‘Sacrificed the numbers to save the people’ – what a thought. The example he gave was of Bob Chapman Chair of Barry-Wehmiller in USA. This company was a £1bn plus turnover and made big machinery. In the 2008 financial crash he decided to ‘sacrifice the numbers to save the people’. With 30% written of the company’s value in one fail swoop – it was time to try something new.
He suggested everyone – from himself downwards, would take four weeks unpaid holiday. They didn’t have to take it consecutively and they could take it when they wanted but everyone would keep their jobs. The response was huge. Those senior people who could afford to take more unpaid leave traded with those that couldn’t. Everyone worked as a family, pulling together. They were involved in the decision, given the support to do it and felt safe and happy. The company prospered. It enjoys 20% year on year growth compared with the average 6%.
When you believe in why you are doing something, everything else falls into place. People support you because they believe in the same thing.
Wouldn’t it be refreshing if all companies ‘Sacrificed the numbers for the people’?
How much more would their profits grow? What do you think?