What makes a great employer? Is it pay, atmosphere or something intangible? Well here is one story from an artisan bakery that shares some of the secrets.
An individual usually joins an organisation with the firm belief and determination to put in her/his best. However, many employers squander away trust and goodwill.
And then there are distinctively well-run companies where the management has the grasp of the elementary fact that employees are their greatest resource.
These organisations go on to do better than the competition, usually, always.
In her 37th year, Michiko accomplished what she had been itching to do for almost a decade.
An assistant vice president in the financial department with a large conglomerate, she had been wanting to go independent.
To the surprise of her family and friends she one day informed them about the course she had been doing on the side and had learnt the art and qualified as a baker. So what? Bakers are a dime a dozen, many might say.
But to Michiko, it was the culinary arts and sanitation principles she had learnt, which she combined with her management experience to establish a retail outlet.
Among the many first things she did was to hire five employees at twice the usual wage that is paid to those working in bakeries. Hers is an artisanal bakery. Just so we are clear an artisan baker is a craftsperson who possesses the ability to mix, ferment, shape and produce bakery products.
These are hand-crafted products with no involvement of machines. Most artisanal bakers have their own recipes and signature products.
News Travels Fast
We humans like to see good things happen. Word soon spread, not about her products yet, but the wages she was paying.
Soon enough the number of customers began to increase even though they were paying prices higher than in the neighbourhood bakeries.
The motivation, to begin with, was to support a business that was fair to its employees.
Today, after eight years, Michiko is a master baker and three of her original employees have been trained by her and are bakers themselves assisted by several others.
This artisanal bakery employs over 70 well-paid and well-looked-after happy and friendly individuals and the business is thriving.
People pay higher than usual prices to buy better than usual products that are simply addictive and Michiko often has to turn down orders from high end hotels and restaurants.
This is the story about a real bakery in the US. All of her administrative staff work at their home office towards which they receive an allowance.
The Great Employer Secrets
So what do people such as Michiko and many of the multinationals have in common to make them a great employer?
Just a common sense approach, which does not involve any high methodology. And what might this be?
- Pay fairly.
- Offer stability.
- Recognise and reward the good work that’s done.
- Make sure there’s a healthy work-life balance.
- Take time off to get to know your employees.
- Allow for flexible working hours as long as the job is being done with competence.
- While not over communicating, Keep employees informed about what’s happening.
- Be open to fresh ideas.
- Create a cohesive culture.
- Let there never be any kind of racial or gender discrimination.
- Try being a philosopher, a social activist combined with being a leader. Employees generally do not want to jump ship so long as they are treated fairly.
Incidentally, Michiko means ‘the wise and beautiful one’ in Japanese.
You may have a great employer, but what skills do you need to excel? We’ve got you covered.
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