Welcome to Good People, Good Business, a blog created by The Village Business Institute. In this blog, I will share my ideas and the passion I have for the world of business and our place in it as human beings. Nothing in business happens without the involvement of people—this might seem like an obvious statement, yet of all the resources utilized to produce a service or product—physical capital, financial capital, and human capital—human capital too often gets the least attention. Before I give you an example about the lack of attention leaders and managers often pay to human capital, let me clarify my commitment to confidentiality.
As a consultant I work with many different companies on often very difficult, and sometimes potentially embarrassing, issues. My promises to them are number one, that I will work with them respectfully and number two, that I will keep their issues and concerns confidential. In other words I will not share company names or identifying details unless I have their written permission to do so. The examples and stories I will share in this blog will be based on very real situations, though I will not use the actual names of companies and employees, or details about their situation.
Okay back to the example of how the value of human capital can get shortchanged, even in very well intentioned organizations. A human resources manager from “Jones Manufacturing” [I know…not a very imaginative pseudonym] called me on a Friday morning with concerns regarding seriously deteriorating performance in their production teams. Over the previous year, Jones had made a reduction in workforce in response to the cancellation of a very large order. It was a gut-wrenching decision for this company, but one they felt was absolutely necessary for their survival. The company survived and new orders, albeit not as large as the one they lost, were coming in so they needed to ramp up production. Many of the production leaders they had previously relied on were gone and the once high-performance culture of the company had been replaced with disillusionment and resentment.
In the company’s efforts to rein in costs they had forgotten to take care of the survivors. They assumed the key leaders who weren’t laid off would just be happy to have jobs and didn’t put into place plans to retain them. They assumed wrong and lost good people they had hoped to keep. In other words, retention of financial and physical capital had higher priority than their employees. Fortunately, Jones Manufacturing was able to reinvent their work culture by making hiring, training and retention of quality employees once again one of their highest priorities.
In the upcoming weeks and months, I will use this blog to focus on how companies, even in difficult times, can hire and retain quality employees, develop healthy work environments, build work cultures that genuinely empower employees and reward initiative. Along with examples of companies like Jones Manufacturing and how their decisions had unintended consequences, I’ll share ways companies can overcome these challenges.
Along with my own thoughts and experiences in consulting with companies I will also bring in the occasional guest author who has expertise on a related topic. My goal is to provide business leaders with a variety of insights and ideas into how to hire, train, retain, and develop employees, because we know it takes good people to build a good business into a great one.
Thank you for your time and I look forward to your input, respectfully given, on the topics presented in Good People, Good Business.