It’s amazing how much you learn in college, and how much you subsequently forget. For instance, I remember that I once read the entire Marx Engels reader. The content, however, I can barely recollect.
There was one crucial point that I did manage to retain- and that is the importance of employee satisfaction; how critical it is to one’s personal happiness to take pride in one’s work.
Karl Marx discussed the role of machinery in factories and the inevitable dissatisfaction of working on an assembly line. Marx maintained that in order for a cobbler to truly be fulfilled in life, he needed to produce his product in whole. For example, a shoemaker needs to inspect a completed pair of shoes, to know that someone else will derive satisfaction from slipping that pair of shoes on their feet and wearing them around town. A shoemaker needs to know that this was a direct result of his hard work. A monotonous role on an assembly line simply won’t cut it.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking efficiency. Efficiency is crucial to be competitive in today’s market. But I am wary of companies whose appetite for efficiency and profits are at the expense of employee satisfaction. As demonstrated in the shoemaker analogy, contributing to one’s fellow man gives us a sense of pride. It is up to the employer to connect each employee to the final product or end goal, and to help employees understand how their contribution betters society. I firmly believe that a paycheck without pride is detrimental to job satisfaction and overall life fulfillment.
I take great pride in the work that I do at GPTW; I help companies create a workplace culture where their employees also take pride in their work and derive satisfaction each and every day. I know this is happening because I see it time and time again in the companies featured on our Best Companies to Work For lists. The 2011 Best Small and Medium Workplaces list, which will be announced on the 18th of October, is no exception. Whether it takes the form of the CEO sharing client praise with employees or donating serious resources to helping the local community, these Best Companies know the importance of pride.
To further illustrate the point, I would like to leave you with some fast facts: This year’s Best Small & Medium Workplaces donated over 14 million dollars in community contributions last year alone. Now that is something to take pride in. In fact, 19 of the 50 Best offer a one-to-one matching program for employee contributions to the community. This certainly shows that some companies return the favor- and take pride in their employees’ work as well.
How do your leaders encourage Pride?