Listen, understand, achieve mutual loyalty
Everything starts with listening. Take the time to engage your employees, your teammates, in conversation. To quote the great Theodore Roosevelt, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” In all relationships this is true, and nowhere is it truer than in a business. The role of a leader isn’t to just lead the vision of a company towards the company’s goals. It is also to guide your people towards their personal goals. Not only while they’re with your business, but in their career and life.
True caring in a company’s culture must come from leadership. As I’ve written about many times, company leaders think having a great culture means they provide snacks and free dry cleaning. That’s not culture; those are perks. A great culture permeates the mind, body and soul of the company and resonates with both your mission statement and who you are as a leader.
When free lunches cost you $2000 and are shown to increase production by $10,000….that’s not a perk, that’s a design to keep employees in the shop. Sure, feeding people shows caring when it comes from the right place. But it needs to be one piece of a caring culture’s puzzle.
A caring leader listens to and understands what his or her people need. You have two ears and one mouth so you can hear better!
Consider it from a sales angle. If you don’t know exactly what the client needs, you’d hardly know what to sell them. This reasoning works the same with employees -- if you don’t know what their goals are, how will you grow them into top performers and future leaders? To be frank, caring about your team affects your bottom line. If money matters most to you, you still should care. When your employees invest their energy in your company, you make a profit. And employees only care when their boss does. This has to be shown by example.
How to care when you’re an insanely busy CEO
It’s hard as a business owner; you’re focused on production, clients are yelling at you, and taxes are a nightmare. With one million things begging for your attention, you must listen to your people. Unless you do, one day an unhappy top performer will walk up to you with a resignation letter in hand. They’re leaving, you’re blindsided, yet the signs were there the entire time. You just didn’t listen.
Recent studies show that employees’ biggest concern with job satisfaction is a lack of fulfillment. Employees can only feel fulfilled if their working on projects that align with their values and goals, and are continually growing in the position they're in. This room for development comes solely from leadership, and this is true whether you’re in business or a household. Just start caring. If you’re willing to walk through the fire with people hand in hand, you’ll never cease to wonder at how far your employees will go.
In my mind, caring starts in the interview process. The interview is every person’s first impression of your company, so making it a substantial, connected conversation is crucial. From this discussion, you must glean information in three critical areas:
Caring plays an essential role in the growth of your business. Some companies can get by employing people just looking for a paycheck. But that will never attract game-changers who will elevate your mission into something greater than the sum of its parts. Think: would you want to work at your company?
Paul David is the founder and CEO of Identified Talent Solutions, an Irvine, California-based recruitment and human resource consulting firm. Paul has been featured in numerous business publications, and his firm was named one of the "Fastest Growing Private Companies” by the Orange County Business Journal and listed on the “Inc. 500” by Inc. Magazine as part of its annual list of “America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies.”
Rick Girard is the Founder & CEO of Stride Search, an Orange County Recruiters and Consulting firm. Rick brings world-class leadership to firms across the nation to meet highly challenging business and talent acquisition objectives. With expertise in creative sourcing, consultative management and winning placement strategies, Rick Girard plants the hiring seeds for his partners’ success.
While not running a School for Gifted Mutants as Professor X, Rick hosts Hire Power Radio Show, a weekly series on OCTalkRadio.net which serves as an entrepreneur’s resource to solve the most difficult hiring challenges. When not on the air, Rick regularly gives talks and writes valuable content for Hiring Managers and Job Seekers alike. His mission: elevate and sharpen the industry standards of exclusive professional search.