Your employees are your company. From customer service to the people who package and ship your product, you count on them to do a good job, but when employees are reduced to numbers on a spreadsheet, can your brand continue to succeed?
The stories of employees who were laid off from Google are a reminder that very few companies value their employees. What makes the Google layoffs so harrowing are that high performers and people who had just been promoted were suddenly locked out of their systems with a cold email that said the company didn’t need them anymore.
Richard Branson, the CEO of Virgin Atlantic, has gone on record saying you need to treat your employees better than your customers. I believe he is right.
Treating employees with respect, showing appreciation for their work, and being an encourager will create a desire in employees also to treat customers and clients well. It will contribute to higher productivity levels and profitability. It makes employees want to come to work and not dread it. It inspires and motivates them to work harder, produce more, and become more engaged.
Treat them like expendable assets; they won’t do their best work because they’ll feel they could become a spreadsheet casualty. I worked for a company that had lost its biggest-selling product and started a plan called “year zero.” The plan called for layoffs and budget cutbacks. We all had a meeting with our team leader on our calendars where we would be informed whether we were affected. Lucky for me, I was not, but in the two weeks until that meeting, very little work got done as everyone was anxious.
Google, Twitter, Goldman Sachs, and Microsoft need people to help them navigate the changing business environment. Your layoffs are communicating that you don’t need them for the future. Meanwhile, the CEO of Apple took a 40% pay cut so they won’t have to lay off anyone. That shows your employees that you care, and you can bet employees will respond with their best work.
Too bad brands don’t get that.