The benefits from creating a great place to work are well documented. So, why do a majority of CEO’s avoid dedicating time and resources to create great workplaces for their people? Here are seven reasons CEO’s avoid creating great workplaces:
- Board of Directors: Even though a CEO may believe in creating a great workplace, it is very likely the board of directors have varying opinions whether it is worth the time and expense of treating employees with respect and dignity. Since the CEO reports to the board, most top executives will exclusively focus on profits at the expense of employee relations.
- Shareholders: When companies are publicly traded entities with shareholders, the stock price becomes the focus of attention. Shareholders are mostly short-term oriented and leave little room for management priorities that focus on creating a great workplace.
- Customers are Number One: It sounds like a good idea; making your customers the number one priority. However, the way to treat your customers with the utmost respect and dignity, treat employees, not customers, as your number one priority. When employees are treated as the number one priority, they will treat customers as their number one priority.
- Money: Focusing on expenses is a necessary part of the CEO’s job, however, for CEO’s who are obsessively fixated on the bottom line, they will avoid dedicating time and resources to create a great work environment. To them, creating a great workplace is an unnecessary expense. What many of them do not realize is great work environments have less to do with money and more to do with how people are treated.
- Unbelievers: Reporting to the CEO may be a number of Vice Presidents who do not believe in creating a great workplace. They do not treat employees with respect and dignity and block the creation of a culture that emphasizes civility. In their opinion, company culture is not a strategy; it’s pie-in-the-sky management mumbo jumbo.
- Narcissist CEO: These CEO’s are into themselves. People are important as long as they meet the CEO’s needs. Creating a great workplace would take away from meeting his own needs, like his pay raises, bonus plan, stock options, private air travel and exotic vacations. None of these perks are wrong as long as compensation, benefits and perks are fair across the entire organization.
- Industry: There are certain industries that rarely are known for creating a positive company culture. There are companies in these industries who break the great workplace barrier, it is just a rare phenomena. For example, casinos, country clubs, government agencies, hospitals, restaurants, retail, stock brokers, used car dealers, etc. Again, there may be companies in these industries who have great workplaces, but the odds are stacked against them.
Great workplaces are vitally strategic endeavors for a long standing successful company. Peter Drucker once said, “Company culture eats strategy for breakfast.” He knew what he was talking about. Plus, creating a great workplace for your people is the right thing to do.
Provide your comments about other reasons why CEO’s avoid creating great workplaces.