December 28, 2009

Power of an Employer

Buona sera. I was able to catch some of the usual Christmas movies that I like to watch every year. Now, wait a minute! I am not going to be going on about Christmas, exactly, and then I'll drop it. I'm as glad the season is winding down as much as almost everyone else. So anyway. Hard-hearted and heavy-handed employers make labor burdensome. Labor, by its nature, is seldom a joy. But treating your employees poorly, or even neglecting opportunities to bring them a little joy, is a good part of what causes labor to be a burden.

In National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, Mr. Shirley suspended the Christmas bonuses. He was becoming a miser and was more interested in saving a few dollars than in the best interests of his employees. In this case, the Christmas bonus was expected every year, and they counted on it as part of their salaries. When he had to look at the Griswold family, he said, "Look, uh, sometimes things look good on paper, but lose their luster when you see how it affects real folks. I guess a healthy bottom line doesn't mean much, if to get it you have to hurt the ones you depend on. It's people that make the difference, little people like you." I want that emblazoned on a sign over every employer's personal office door!

Now, let's go back to an older movie, Scrooge. (By the way, after hearing the audio book of the original story, I am thoroughly impressed with this version, as it actually improved on the work of Charles Dickens.) The Ghost of Christmas Past took Scrooge back to his younger days, where he was a happy apprentice. Mr. Fezziwig threw a shindig that brought him the praise of his employees.

The Ghost said, "He has spent but a few pounds of your mortal money: three or four perhaps. Is th
at so much that he deserves this praise?" Right. He spend some money to make people happy. Is that really such a difficulty? People complain about the modern economy, but they should realize the economy of people like Fezziwig in Victorian England!

Scrooge said to the Ghost, "He has the power to render us happy or unhappy; to make our service light or burdensome; a pleasure or a toil. Say that his power lies in words and looks; in things so slight and insignificant that it is impossible to add and count ’em up: what then? The happiness he gives, is quite as great as if it cost a fortune." Yes! A thousand times, yes! Learn this, employers!

I think I read that Lee Iacocca said, "Give your employees your best, and they'll give you their best". Is this so difficult? Things may look good on paper, but treating people properly and actually treating them like people has its own intangible dividends, capice?

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