Successful People Make Successful OrganizationsJuly 1, 2008
Money money money…profits profits profits. Without ’em there’s no business to run, there’s no place for employees to work. So it goes that company managers must focus much of their attention on top, middle and bottom lines. But at the same time management at many of the most successful companies find that they must focus on more than just profits in order to keep their primary assets—their customers and their employees—satisfied. Where’s that focal point? Corporate citizenship—the subject of this editorial.
The Ethisphere Institute recently named its World’s Most Ethical Companies, rewarding such U.S. companies as Caterpillar, Deere & Co., Rockwell Automation, Whirlpool Corp. and Johnson Controls. Awards were handed out last month at a joint conference held with Forbes magazine. The conference title: Driving Profit through Ethical Leadership, which I point out to emphasize my belief that a company’s bottom line is affected by how it treats its employees, customers and suppliers.
The world’s most ethical companies, as judged by Ethisphere, maintain and work toward a code of ethics and avoid litigation and regulatory infractions; invest in innovation and sustainable business practices; and work to improve their corporate citizenship. A good corporate citizen, as described on www.goodcor-poratecitizen.com, respects the individuals, the community and the environment. Doing so helps companies recruit and retain good employees.
I’ve toured dozens of metalforming and fabricating operations, and have als noted how many work closely in support of their local community. This is one key building block toward creating a socially responsible company, one that employees will be proud to work for and contribute to. So many of you sponsor youth athletic teams and proudly display team pictures and trophies in your lobbies. You support local charities, and encourage your employees to volunteer in their communities. In fact, one recent study shows that 27 percent of companies now allow employees to modify their work schedules in order to participate in volunteer activities, a 5 percent jump over a 3-yr. period.
You also sponsor continuing education for your employees, and I also have seen first-hand how some metalforming and fabricating companies make positions available in their companies for physically challenged persons. Earlier this year I visited a manufacturing plant that had structured a factory-floor job to accommodate an employee with a degenerative eye disease. As this worker’s eyesight diminished over time, the company’s managers developed a strategy to allow him to continue to do his job, even as he eventually became legally blind. Other employees volunteered to help, by safely guiding the employee to and from his workcell, one that bends metal-alloy tube and pipe. And, they restructured the work flow of the cell to limit the amount of movement this challenged worker must make as he does his job. The impact on employee morale, I was told by company managers, has been huge, as workers see and appreciate the extra effort taken to retain a valued employee.
The good corporate citizen website lists five main components to becoming a good corporate citizen, and being fair and equitable to customers and employees is a biggie. I quote:
“Have in place systems and measures that will ensure adequate feedback between managers of the company and their employees/customers. By doing this you will have a record of the current health of your company, which will help you make any of the adjustments required to ensure that your employees and customers feel fairly treated…statistics prove that companies who are known to be good corporate citizens and treat their employees well also have a healthier bottom line…
“Organizations are not successful; it is the people who work in organizations that are successful.”
Laurie Harbour, President, Harbour Results, Inc., E707
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