Have you ever interacted with a business and known it is different? Take Vistaprint, for example. If you’ve shopped there before, you know it’s a step above. It’s beautifully simple to customize products, and the company offers free return shipping if you’re not happy with your item. Costco is another good example. Its employees are happy and helpful, and the return policy is amazing. I buy items there that I wouldn’t buy otherwise because I know I can return them if I dislike them.
I could go on and on with other examples: The Container Store, Whole Foods, and Southwest Airlines. The point is that some companies are just different, but why?
One way to describe the above companies is with the term “conscious capitalism.” Conscious companies use a marketing strategy that displays awareness of the effects of their actions. They also implement practices that benefit their employees, customers, and the environment. John Mackey and Raj Sisodia coined this term in their book, Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business.
I read extensively about conscious capitalism and companies that exemplify it while I formed the vision for Newsletter Pro. We definitely march to the beat of our own flavor of conscious capitalism. That starts with how we treat team members.
A Win-Win For You And Employees
One mistake (among others) I see many business owners make is keeping all the marbles for themselves. As I type this, I can almost hear some of my buddies. “But Shaun, I took all the risk, and I built this business. These employees are simply here today and gone tomorrow.” While this may be true, there’s also an assumption here that business is a zero-sum game. Either you win or your employees win.
Can’t it be a win-win?
The founder of The Container Store, Kip Tindell, likes to say, “One equals three.” In other words, 1 great employee equals 3 average employees. Thus, it’s cheaper to pay a great employee 150%+ of the average industry wage to keep them around.
Most of us have seen this concept at play at some point. It’s that employee who always knocks it out of the park. You keep piling onto their plate; they keep killing it. Some of these people may be leaders in your company now. What would your company look like if all your employees were superstars?
Don’t misunderstand me — I’m not suggesting you pay average employees more. What I’m saying is: Shouldn’t your superstar employees make more money?
Let’s take it a step further. Think about a scenario where every one of your employees is a superstar. Are they all worth 150% of the current average rate? Let me ask you one more question. Who would you rather have taking care of your customers — an average team member or a superstar?
Personally, I’d happily pay a superstar more. I know from experience that my 50% in extra costs will net my business 2–3 times that in profits. How? These employees are more productive and bring more care to their work. Plus, I save on not having to hire and train multiple new employees because I lost the superstar.
Why You Should Care About Employee Happiness
We can probably agree on this right away: A happy employee is a productive employee. But an unhappy employee? Not so much. Employees who put in their 2-week notice and develop short-timer’s syndrome are one common type of unhappy employee. Those people suck, right?
As a business owner, you typically only tolerate this behavior because you need time to find a replacement. But what about generally unhappy employees? How productive do you think they are? Just because they haven’t quit doesn’t mean you’re getting 100%. Does it really have to be this way? Why can’t we create a place where people enjoy working and like their coworkers so much that they do their best?
If you create a set of values and hire people who are aligned with those values, you will end up with a group of somewhat like-minded people who are working toward a common goal. This is the start of creating an environment that people want to be part of.
One Of Our Crazy Policies
One of the most difficult times for us as a company is when people quit. In our hiring process, two weeks isn’t enough time to find and train a good replacement. Heck, it isn’t even enough time for us to find a replacement. One day, I asked myself, “Why is it that people only give a 2-week notice?” The majority of the time, it’s because they know they are going to quit before their notice.
So, I asked another question: “What if we created an open-exit policy?” This policy allows employees to notify us when they start looking for a new job, sometimes even 2 months in advance. This way, we can be flexible with their schedule to help them go to job interviews, and they can use us as a reference.
So far in 2020, even during the worst of the pandemic, most exiting employees have given us more than a 2-week notice. That is not to say that others haven’t given us just 2 weeks, but rather, we are getting about 6 weeks’ notice before someone quits. This allows us to find and train replacements for these positions before the previous employee leaves.
How Paying More Pays Off
Why create a fun and productive environment with happy employees whose hard work is rewarded? You can actually afford to pay more and increase benefits, all while actually making more money. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but it’s the truth. At Newsletter Pro, we’ve been working to create an amazing culture and hire only superstars for several years now. It hasn’t always been easy, and we’ve made many mistakes along the way. Sure, our expenses for payroll and benefits have increased. But we’ve also seen something else. By taking great care of the people who take care of our customers, our profits have increased, too.
Many books and training programs have been written on the topic of creating an amazing culture for your employees. Looking for a few good reads to start the process of developing an amazing company culture? Try Uncontainable: How Passion, Commitment, and Conscious Capitalism Built a Business Where Everyone Thrives by Kip Tindell. I also recommend Delivering Happiness: A Path to Passion, Profits, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh. Steve Browne’s HR on Purpose: Developing Deliberate People Passion is awesome, too. It was one of Amazon’s Best Business and Leadership Books of 2018.
I feel so strongly about the power of building relationships with your prospects, clients, and employees that I wrote a book about it. Get a FREE copy of my latest book, Stop Losing Customers here.