Treat your employees like your most valued client

 'A group of individuals get together and exist as an institution we call a business so that they have the ability to accomplish something collectively that they couldn't accomplish separately -- they make a contribution to society, a term that sounds trite but is basic.' -- David Packard, overdue co-founder of Hewlett-Packard (March 8, 1960)

The early years of Hewlett-Packard are often regarded as having an innovative founding culture. Highlighted, by the late co-founder, David Packard's address to HP Managers in 1960, who enabled each person working at HP, to be their very best self. He wanted employees to understand they were doing something worthwhile, and desired that communicated directed at each level.

Fast-forward a half-century afterwards, and reality television shows, such as'Undercover Boss', have shone a spotlight on that connection, between senior executives and their employees. The premise of this series is for high level executives to go'undercover' in their own business as an entry-level worker, to observe how business operations functions at a'employees' level.

The end results are often eye-opening, cathartic even, for all these executives who gain a better understanding of their employee's daily work. Oftentimes, it gives new changes to make procedures simpler. Employed as a function of reality tv, it's prone to provide melodramatic moments fused with the tear-jerker endings, leaving executives acknowledging the significance of entry-level work.

"When the camera crews of'Undercover Boss' entered your office, perhaps the first question you should ask yourself is,'Why?' ."

However, it may also be regarded as a damning indictment on the present disconnect between staff and executives. One that certainly on the surface seems at odds with what David Packard envisioned almost 60 years later.

This naturally seems like a rather cynical take on the series itself, but in fact it speaks to broader communication gap between employees and executives. If the camera crews of'Undercover Boss' entered your office, perhaps the first question you should ask yourself is,'Why?' .

As a pioneer, the onus is on you to cultivate a working environment where employees are permitted to feel as though they have real possession, in the company. This isn't a new concept, but it bears repeating, as recognizing employees as individuals, rather than as a collective, is critical to future achievement.

This yields positive results in a variety of ways, but perhaps most seriously, it aspires individuals to function to their fullest potential, and inspire innovation. The opposite effect can detach employees from their job, and make them feel really another body, another amount, performed to just do one job and are disposable when they can not.



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"As a leader, the onus is on you to nurture a working environment where employees are permitted to feel as though they have real possession in the organization."

The assumption behind'Undercover Boss' is built upon the fact that these entry-level employees, don't recognize the executives of the company. There's absolutely not any one time relationship, because those relationships haven't yet been established.

Establish those relationships, make lasting connections and celebrate the diversity of the ones that work in your business. Eliminate the idea of hierarchy and concentrate on'the people' rather than'the team'. Create individualized career progressions, meetings, as opposed to lumping everyone into one. It's these small things, where you place yourself ahead of others and attract the best people.

Clients, clients are important, but it is the respect you give to the people who work for you which will ultimately determine how far your company can go. A work environment, that does not so much feel like'work' but rather, as Dave Packard explained, something that's worthwhile.

'Our first duty, is to let people know they're doing something worthwhile...Do not just give orders. Provide the opportunity for your visitors to do something significant. Encourage them.'

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