HOW TO GET EMPLOYEES INVOLVED
Employee involvement is a concern of every business, public and private, as long as there is one or more employees on the payroll.
How can it be accomplished?
How can employees be made to perceive themselves as part of the team?
How can they be made to feel and act more responsibly?
Numerous business courses, seminars and training meetings are held with this objective in mind.
Unfortunately, they all head the same direction. They teach the objective but not the solution.
The objective, of course, is to make the employee feel more involved like the business is his own. Numerous business courses hold this objective and vision before the eye of the student and points out how much more profitable the Company will be if this is achieved. Benefits, benefits, benefits are listed, listed, listed..., but where is the solution???
All the energy aimed at a solution is always directed toward management rather than the bottom line employee himself.
Basically, millions of dollars are spent in business courses for managers to aid employee incentive. The philosophy of such courses can be summed up in a nutshell as follows: The manager is supposed to be a nice guy and treat employees fairly, but also play games with them to make them feel involved. He is supposed to use a lot of common sense and lead in the most efficient manner and try to be one of the guys, yet maintain his authority and respect. The Company is to give numerous pep talks and offer incentives to make employees produce more.
The ideas presented by management and motivational courses are good, but they all make the mistake of tackling the branches of the problem and not the root. All solutions are temporary and not permanent.
We have already solved half of the problem of employee motivation by introducing the election process whereby workers can elect competent managers over them. This alone may booster employee moral and production by 50%.
What we need now is something to keep the incentive up day after day without the need of expensive courses and pep talks (which are minimal in their effects).
Wouldn't it make sense to find the most motivated and involved worker there is, and then find out what it is that is the key to his motivation and, finally, take that motivating factor and instill it in the common worker?
That makes sense, doesn't it?
And who is the most involved and motivated worker in the world? Who will work fourteen or more hours a day up to seven days a week whether the Company is making money or not? Who never steals from the Company and always, that is always, works for its benefit? Who is ever encouraging others toward better performance and dedication? Who is willing to miss meals, time with family and friends, put off buying luxuries for the Company's sake, place his marriage on the line, take chances, be available at a minute's notice, doesn't mind being awakened in the middle of the night with a company problem and virtually has an eternal affair going on with the business? Who is this person?
The owner is totally motivated and involved. It matters not if he has never seen a motivational or management course. He is involved in a way that managers only dream and wish their employees would be.
Ownership and control is involvement. It is a principle. It works automatically and does not have to be taught or learned. It just is.
Unless a person is completely indifferent to life, ownership brings an immediate sense of responsibility. There is probably no one more responsible and completely aware of the work that needs done than the small business owner.
Independent salespeople are also very motivated, for they have complete stewardship over their position and control over hours and workload.
Larger businesses have multiple owners. These owners still have a high sense of responsibility, but may have the disadvantage of one owner shifting responsibility to another owner.
Finally, we have the business which is largely owned by stockholders who are not employees. These non-participating owners are certainly concerned about the Company, but often have their hands tied as far as affecting company profits. Even so, they have a strong sense of involvement with the Company.
A general principle of success has always been to take a concept that works in one area and apply it in an adapted form to other areas.
If we want to instill a sense of involvement and responsibility in workers, we need to look at the most successful example: The small business owner. Therefore, we must take those principles that motivate him and apply them to all employees in a large business.
How do we do that?
We make all employees owners with a stewardship over their individual responsibilities.
How do we make them involved owners?
(1) All employees, even ground level workers who are just starting on the job, receive part of their pay in stock. Most other bonuses for performance are also paid in stock.
(2) Reversing the flow of authority of selection of key positions from the top down to the bottom up is a key ingredient to reversing this gap, but the next aspect we shall introduce should dispel this distance once and for all, and unite the various classes of a corporation into one working body.
(3) This next principle presented will be looked upon with a jaundice eye by many and will only be accepted by the world after it has proven itself beyond the point of argument. Only those who have nothing to lose, who are cooperative and team-spirited, will be able to embrace it at first. However, it should not be that startling. It is merely an extension of the most motivated worker in history: The small business owner.
Let us take the consciousness of the small business owner and visualize it spread over one thousand people in a large corporation. Let us see those thousand people as one entity operating a small business.
How does the small businessman pay himself?
How will the one thousand workers pay themselves?
They will both be paid on the same principle.
The small businessman puts his business first, realizing that the main priority is to have operating capital. Without this, the business would die and have no possibility of expansion or independence. His secondary monetary priority is money for him to live on which he takes home. He realizes that he can only take out income after he has taken care of operating expenses. His third priority is expansion capital. This is what is left over after he pays himself a livable wage and operating expenses. Sometimes he will even sacrifice some of his take-home pay with the idea that he can expand his business so his paycheck will be much larger in the future.
The principles that work for a small business can also work for a 1000-member corporation. Their first priority should be operating capital for supplies and overhead. Without enough of this the Company will greatly suffer and be in danger of closing its doors. Many companies go out of business for just this reason.
Operating capital should be the top priority, but instead unyielding employees, unions, laws and circumstances force a business to consider the worker's wage first. The employee is to get paid in full no matter what, even if the Company goes broke and everyone loses his job and makes any money at all.
Can you see a small businessman paying himself a full wage during a short month and being unable to operate his business the next month? No. He will not do this. He will eat beans, if necessary, during the short month and then take out extra during a good month. This flexibility gives the small businessman an interesting edge over the large corporation.
On the other hand, a large corporation has many advantages. Imagine the extra stability it would have if all workers were involved owners who felt responsibility for the Company and were willing to sacrifice some of their paycheck during bad times and then pay themselves extra during good times. If a company had this flexibility, it would be almost impossible to go broke and it would give it a tremendous competitive edge.
The Molecular Business pays its workers differently than does the present authoritarian businesses. The workers get paid from two sources: stock and cash.
The amount of stock employees receive is dependent on the importance and skill of their jobs. The President of the Company, for instance, would receive much more stock than would the common worker, but all would receive some stocks, thus all would be owners in one degree or another.
The unique and perhaps controversial aspect of their take-home pay is the amount of money each would receive. All employees, from the president down to the first level worker, would receive exactly the same wage. The only way that one employee could receive more cash than another is if one works overtime, yet he still has the option of receiving this in stock.
Think of the effect this would have on Company moral and union. The President of the Company and the common worker both receive the same wage.
This principle would do more to end the division between management and labor than any other move. When two people receive the same take home pay, they are automatically in the same class.
It is true that people of similar interests will still gravitate together, but in this pay situation, none would tend to feel that he is in a world apart or above his co-worker.
One important point overlooked here is that this principle works consistently in nature, and all great discoveries are made by observing nature.
All the fears of the Molecular Business are unfounded and are held together by the weak ego which sees not unity, but separativeness.
Up to now all incentive in the business world has been built around the idea of separativeness, of two classes. Those who make a lot of money and those who barely survive. Everyone wants to be in the class that makes the money, and it is recognized that the opportunity is open to all, but in the present system, abundance is only available to a small percentage. All have a chance to be in that percentage, but not all have the advantages necessary to be there.
Those who have made it look at the have-nots judgmentally and say or think: "I am successful because of my enterprise and skill, and there is no reason anyone else cannot do the same. The only reason the unsuccessful one does not have abundance is because he either does not think correctly, or is lazy."
This may be true for some. On the other hand, there are many people who are industrious and try to think positive, but made some wrong choices, had some bad breaks, did not have rich or helpful parents to help them get started and numerous other reasons why they did not make it into that elite percentage.
Another point is that success studies show that a large percentage of those who do acquire substantial success struggled through many failures and near poverty until after the age of forty.
Do we look at these successful peoples' early lives and say that the reason they never had success earlier is because they were lazy or had a bad attitude?
In the businesses of the Old Age this separative thinking prevails. The philosophy is basically: "Each man (or woman) for himself."
The coming age will be much different (and better). The keynote will be: "I seek to fulfill my brother's dreams and in doing so I fulfill my own. I and my brother are one."
In the Old Age business the dream is to be richer and better than your brother.
In the New Age the dream is equality and abundance for all.
As we have said, the Molecular Business is a natural principle. We will illustrate this by comparing it to nature. The workers in the business are like cells in our bodies. The money they are paid corresponds to oxygen.
In a healthy body one cell does not take a salary of ten units of oxygen and another cell, with the same needs, receives only one, but they both receive equal amounts. In times of health there seems to be little use in hoarding oxygen, for all cells can have all they need. What good does it do to have more than you need? It does not enhance health or happiness.
On the other hand, what happens if the body holds its breath and there is a shortage of oxygen? The cells cooperate and all take a little less. All suffer a little, none suffer a lot. The distress is merely a temporary inconvenience and when the body breathes again, abundance is restored.
Tomorrow - a parable...
Copyright 1999 by J.J. Dewey, All Rights Reserved