Worry About People, Not Results
July nearly killed me and no, that isn’t a hyperbole.
On Canada Day after suffering from a pretty bad bronchitis infection, I was sent to the hospital as I was unable to breathe properly. After waiting 7 1/2 hours, I was finally able to get the medication I needed to do something a lot of us take for granted.
A few weeks later, I ended up having a panic attack that felt like a heart attack. According to doctors and paramedics, I’d been under so much stress that it manifested into physical pain. I write this knowing that I’m lucky to be alive at this point, but that’s not the important part of the story. What matters is how it got that bad.
At this point in my life, money was hard to come by and I took a job at a call centre in order to make ends meet. At first, I thought the rumors about the highest turnover rate in the city were false. There was pizza every weekend, free drinks, a relaxed atmosphere, and good people working alongside me. By the time I was there for a month, things started to change. Hectic hours, long shifts, and working shoulder to shoulder is the perfect breeding ground for disease and I happened to be one of its victims.
In an environment like this, sick days are limited, so I took my days off doing every remedy I could to get better. Should I have gone to a doctor? Most likely, but I kept thinking that it wasn’t too bad until it got really bad. The aftermath was not a pretty picture either. The day after I got back, I was asked to work overtime, even though I could barely talk. After the paramedics were at my house, I called in to say that I wouldn’t be able to come in the next day. They told me to call back later as it wasn’t serious.
When all you care about are the results and productivity, people tend to get in the way due to things like human error and the capabilities of the human body. In other words, you’re asking a human to perform like a robot and that will actually result in lower productivity because of low morale. When you put your employees first and give a shit about them getting sick or having kids or just living their life, you’ll actually see morale and productivity go up. You don’t get this by offering $500 raffles every two weeks, you get this by giving them health benefits from the beginning, paid family leave, a good living wage, and more than 3 sick days in a year.
If you treat your employees well to the point where they don’t have to take second and third jobs to make ends meet, they’ll stay around longer and for some companies, that’s a hard thing to grasp.