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Annette Franz

Customer Care

Do Leaders Really Care About Their Employees?

The answer is critical to organizational success

Published: Tuesday, April 24, 2018 - 12:02

I had another column in the hopper, but when this article came across my desk, followed by a phone conversation with Bob Chapman, I knew I needed to write something different, something that is top of mind for me now—and often—as I work with my clients. The article? “Beyond Nice,” which you can find in Conscious Company magazine’s spring 2018 issue. It features Bob Chapman, CEO of Barry-Wehmiller, and his approach to leadership that we can and should all learn from. Sooner rather than later.

I’ve written about Chapman several times in the past, starting with a 2012 post about his TEDxScottAFB Talk:
“Truly Human Leadership: Everyone Matters”
“Define Your Employee-Centric Culture”
“Employee Engagement Strategy? Nay! Leadership Strategy”
“A Customer Experience Carol”
“‘Be Positive’ Is Not a Strategy”
“We Have a Crisis in Leadership”

I have followed Chapman since that first blog post back in 2012, and I’ve spoken to him twice since then. He’s a genuine and caring person, and I love how he’s trying to shift the leadership paradigm. And, clearly, I believe he’s on to something: We have a crisis in leadership.

Look at some of the stats:
• 88 percent of employees in the United States feel they work for a company that doesn’t care about them
• 75 percent of employees are disengaged
• 67 percent of employees don’t trust their leaders
• 50 percent of employees are dissatisfied with their jobs
• 7 percent of people in one survey said they’d been hospitalized due to workplace stress
• 120,000 deaths are due to workplace stress every year

Yikes!

Each one on its own is bad; all of them combined are insane. The problem: Leaders don’t care about their employees; instead, employees are viewed as a cog in the wheel to leaders’ success. Leaders drive toward growth, to numbers, and forget about the needs and the lives of the employees who help them get there.

Chapman notes that, “We measure success all wrong in this country. Many people have made millions, billions of dollars, who have incredibly broken personal lives. Would we view those people as successful? We are going to measure success by the way we touch the lives of people.”

Imagine the employee experience if that were the case, if leaders cared about employees, their families, and their well-being. And if they measured success by how they touched their employees’ lives. A little humanity and humaneness would go a long way.

How do leaders turn things around? First and foremost, it’s a choice. Everything we do in our lives, as humans, as leaders, is a choice. Choose to lead differently. Choose to align with the rest of the leadership team and the goals of the business. Choose to care. How?
• Leaders must choose to put their employees’ well-being ahead of all other goals and outcomes. It starts with the CEO and the executive team. The choice is theirs.
• Establish core values and guiding principles that set the tone for the company culture, one that puts people first.
• Create an environment based on trust, respect, and caring.
• Adopt a servant-leader mentality.
• Take a look at the checklist in the “Beyond Nice” article; it provides a dozen essential actions that leaders must take. Put a check next to those you already do, and look inward for the ones that you don’t.

The bottom line is this: When leaders take care of their people, their people take care of the business.

“When you look at somebody as somebody’s precious child that you have a chance to impact, it profoundly changes the way you view people,” says Chapman. “They are no longer a function for your success.”

First published on the CX Journey blog.

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About The Author

Annette Franz’s picture

Annette Franz

Annette Franz, CCXP is founder and CEO of CX Journey Inc. She’s got 25 years of experience in both helping companies understand their employees and customers and identifying what drives retention, satisfaction, engagement, and the overall experience – so that, together, we can design a better experience for all constituents. She's an author (she wrote the book on customer understanding!), a speaker, and a customer experience thought leader and influencer. She serves as Vice Chairwoman on the Board of Directors of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA), is an official member of the Forbes Coaches Council, and is an Advisory Board member for CX@Rutgers.