Boost the Value of Your Business With an Investment of Respect

handshake-respect public domainSome of you may be old enough to remember when Japanese industry, especially manufacturing, was seen as a juggernaut. It was characterized by the world’s highest levels of quality, unflagging company loyalty and lifetime employment for workers.

The quality standards are still there, but the loyalty and lifetime employment are very much on their way out. Blame two decades of tough economic news.

Although many have worked for a single company their entire lives, the cultural compact of lifetime employment has never really been part of US society. However, loyalty in the US business world has always been a factor and it may be more important today than ever before. In a world increasingly dominated by social media, brand loyalty within the ranks of a business is critical.

The Rodney Dangerfield problem

We can excuse the Japanese for losing some of their traditions. Unfortunately, economic realities trump cultural values. However, a Harvard Business Review study finds that around the world it’s a lack of respect from their bosses that turns off most employees. Just over half, 54 percent, said they don’t get regular respect from their bosses.

The costs are enormous. Employees are less engaged, turnover rates go up, productivity goes down, healthcare costs increase and certainly these disrespected folks are not the kind of brand ambassadors small business owners want to send out into the world.

However, the price of paying respect to people is small and it should be something that business owners proactively pursue. Respect is one of those “tone from the top” items. If you aren’t showing it for those around you, your attitude will eventually transfer to the rest of your organization.

It’s important to recognize that there are significant demographic and cultural elements to showing respect. People of different ages, genders and backgrounds can feel differently about what it means to show respect or disrespect to one another. In a multi-cultural country like the US, getting a grasp on all of these factors can be difficult.

A language everyone understands

However, being polite to one another and expressing gratitude are universal. You have the power to instill value in your employees and as they gain value, it transfers directly to your business. When people who work for you are proud of the job there are doing, it makes your company stronger.

If you ever buy or sell a business there’s something called “goodwill” that counts as an asset in the selling price. Major contributing factors in the goodwill asset are how the company is seen by its customers and the state of employee relations. Showing respect for your employees will not only improve your business today, it will greatly increase this asset and boost your payday if you decide to sell.

And before we leave the subject, I believe that you and your employees will enjoy getting up in the morning and going to work more each day when you cultivate an atmosphere of mutual respect. That’s a quality of life thing and it’s priceless.

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