I was with Oregon Small Business Development Center counselors and directors yesterday doing a workshop on "The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan", talking about metrics, when an interesting question arose.
Joe Austin, an SBDC counselor who (I’m told) has been very successful as an entrepreneur in cable businesses, asked about making employee satisfaction one of the key metrics for a company’s business plan. I was taken aback, frankly, because I think of that as a measure of a company’s health, something that should always be a major factor, but not, to be honest, something that comes up as a major priority in the heart of a plan.
Still, Joe has a very interesting point. Isn’t the general mood of the employees one of, if not the, most important measure of a company’s health. I’ve posted previously on this issue several times, but I was nonetheless taken by surprise with his emphasis.
Later, during a break, I discovered the rest of the story. I’m trying to contact Joe to fill it in even more, but in the meantime, for today’s post, what I’m told is that Joe had purchased several companies and made them work very well, after acquiring them. And — here’s where it gets interesting — his main measure of the value of the company was the employee satisfaction.
This is one of those things that make me say, yes, of course, it should be obvious. But sometimes they take pointing out.
Makes perfect sense to me. I've worked in many critical positions in large corporations, and seen first-hand the severe damage that widespread and deep employee dissatisfaction can wreak. This recent trend of treating employees as if they're essentially just another kind of office supply is doing tremendous damage to American business, in my opinion. The impact is subtle, but real. A loyal employee will go to almost ridiculous lengths to support the company. The reverse is equally true, yet apparently not given much consideration.