Your company can only get things done by your employees. As many have found out the hard way, if you have to do it yourself, everything else will fall apart. That's why in the business world there is so much emphasis on training and a happy workplace. But is this emphasis warranted? What could go wrong if employees were catered to less? What would happen if they were catered to more?
Let's say you didn't have a corporation, but a small restaurant. You can always find new waiters and waitresses, so why should it matter how loyal they are? Well, from the time the customer walks in the door, to the time they walk out, their ONLY true contact with your business and its hopes and dreams is the minimum wage kid you put out to be your ambassador. If they don't care about their job, then they won't care about how the food looks, or the customer's experience outside of the minimum it takes to get a tip.
What if you have a retail store? With uncaring employees, how do you think your customer service will be if you are not around to handle things? If you had a manufacturing plant, would neglected employees care about overhead, waste, or throughput?
These are just a few examples of how employees fit into an uncaring business, but the examples don't have to be the rule. In a recent article in Forbes, Tara Weiss asks, "Does your staff have your back?" Of course, she is talking about employee loyalty, but what is the foundation of loyalty? Basically, employees want to feel part of the company they work for and they need to feel a sense of purpose.
A big part of accomplishing this with your employees is to treat them well. However, that alone will only produce happy, yet disconnected employees. Education is a good way to unite your workforce. Show them the company's goals, how you plan to get there, and their part in the plan. Let them feel pride about how much they help the company by going the extra mile here and there. Setup a feedback program so they can definitively see their impact on the greater good.
It doesn't stop there. Once an employee feels accepted, knows their part, and can see results of better work habits, they still need one more thing to bond it all together: praise and reward for their efforts. Have a merit-based reward system. Make weekly announcements to single out and cheer for not just the most accomplished workers, but the hardest working ones as well.
Basically, if you give them a role, a purpose, and a reward, your employees will go to great lengths for the company; giving you results you could never have gotten any other way.