Article or Fable

Articles & Workplace Fables

The Earnest Owner Searching for a Family Feel
‘I want to create a family feel in this business,’ said the Earnest owner of Intent.

‘You mean arguing about petty things or spending time in separate rooms,’ joked the HR director.

The Earnest Owner smiled and continued, ‘That I’m afraid is what we have. Flexi contracts, temporary contracts, people in and out of the office, remote working. Instead I want a workforce that is tightly knit, which supports each other and defends our business at all times. Fiercely loyal. But honest and open with each other so that everyone can be the best they can be. That’s what I want.’

The HR director pondered on what the owner had said and how she might go about achieving such a culture. A few months later she arranged to meet the owner to talk through a plan she had devised.

‘I have been thinking a lot about what you had to say about achieving a family feel in the business’ she began.

‘Good’ said the Earnest Owner. ‘I’m all ears.’

With that the HR director set out her plan.

‘Firstly, I think it would be a good idea to encourage whole families to join our business. With your agreement I want to pay a bonus to any current employee who successfully gets a member of their family to join us. On their application form I want people to record past or current family ties with the business and I want us to look on those applications favourably. We will have families within the family.’

‘Agreed,’ said the owner who saw instantly the benefit for families being united and loyal to the business generation after generation like his own family had been.

‘Secondly, I want us to reward long service. Families stay together through thick and thin and so should our people. I therefore want to give extended holiday leave after 25 years service, and I want to provide a generous pension for those who stay with us which provides more value over time.’

‘Agreed,’ said the business owner once more recognising that the longer people stayed the better value their training would be and that their experience would grow to the company’s advantage.

‘Lastly, families play together, holiday together, eat together. I would therefore like to set up societies and clubs to cover all leisure interests and subsidise them so that our employees can spend quality leisure time together building bonds. I want employees to eat together ever day. I want to have subsidised dining rooms and encourage regular breaks.’

‘Agreed,’ said the business owner once more. He knew that non-work time spent together would allow the employees to know each other better and be more committed to each other.

‘There is one last thing we might do but I wasn’t sure how you might feel,’ went on the HR director.

‘Go on please,’ said the owner.

‘Well in a family you care about each other’s well being. If you are sick, or upset or in financial or legal trouble - it would be nice if we could show we cared.’

‘You’re right. We should provide medical assistance, financial or legal help if needed, and in retirement too we should show we still value those who worked for us. Visits, events etcetera. Very good, please carry on.’ replied the owner.

The HR director did all of these things. The best people flocked to work for the business, staff turnover and sick absence became the lowest in the industry and the staff were praised for their knowledge and experience. The business enjoyed great success.

If you look after your people/family, they will look after you.