Are CEOs starting to see things our way?
A few days ago, C-Levels from the Business Roundtable, including the leaders of Apple and JPMorgan Chase, argued that companies must also invest in employees and deliver value to customers.
Ya don't say?
This bottom-up approach has been around since Henry Ford raised the minimum wage of his workers so they could afford the cars they were building. It seemed generous at the time, and it may just have created the middle class. However, do you think Mr. Ford would have done it at the expense of his fortune?
Not a chance.
I applaud the late realization that employees matter and culture matters, but I remain skeptical. CEOs are still making multiple-multiples of their lowest-paid employee's salaries. CEOs are compensated handsomely to maximize profits. If there were even a chance shareholders would have to sacrifice profits, Wall Street would quickly fill with valet double-parked and finely-dressed protestors.
"They're responding to something in the zeitgeist," said Nancy Koehn, a historian at Harvard Business School. "They perceive that "business-as-usual" is no longer acceptable. It's an open question whether any of these companies will change the way they do business."
But we can.
We can drive what WE want the culture to be without waiting for the C-level to see the light. Find out what our coworkers value, tie it with a triple knot to the mission statement, and never let the two be separated again. We are in a position to show the C-suite the sweet spot of a fully integrated employee culture.
As we improve the culture we share, we improve the working conditions for everyone, and we improve profitability and outcomes.
Thank you top CEOs of the world. Thank you for recognizing, however late to the game you are, that engaged workers are the most valuable asset any CEO, and any shareholder can hold.
If you are a CEO, who feels you unjustly associated with this group of latecomers, email me or call me. I'd love to hear how you integrate your culture, mission, and profits.
At LaineGabriel, we specialize in the art of employee happiness, building cultures in step with the brand, and an unwavering focus on your "why."
Visit us at lainegabriel.com.