Build a Better Business Podcast

90 – How to Get Employees to Care

3 Key Points in this Episode:

  1. There must be a culture of care.
  2. The environment must support caring.
  3. Your standards lead to caring.

Just before we get started today, I want to talk about something very important. In episode 86, I talked about how important it is to have a strategy in place when the next bear market starts. I said, “no one knows when the next bear market will start.”

Two days later the next bear market started which surprised even me. So, I have written an article specifically for you called, “How to Take Advantage of a Bear Market.”

I wrote it because although we have entered a bear market and that causes a lot of fear it is the best time for geometric business growth. You can find the article at JamieIrvine.ca/blog. Links are in the show notes.

If you have any questions or need help executing on the strategies I have laid out in this article please email me: Jamie’s Email

Let’s get started with episode 90, entitled How to Get Employees to Care, this is part 2 of the mini-series, Build a Better Business – Employees That Care.

In part 1, episode 88 you learned about three barriers we don’t talk about enough, the testing that needs to happen pre-hire, and we talked about the ugly truth none of us want to admit. I’ve included a link in the show notes if you haven’t had a chance to listen to that episode.

In today’s episode entitled “How to Get Employees to Care” there are three key things you will learn:

  1. There must be a culture of care.
  2. The environment must support caring.
  3. Your standards lead to caring.

Many business owners, leaders, and managers have expressed their frustration with employees that seem not to care.

I hear the same basic thing repeatedly:

“Jamie, it’s just a job to them and they don’t care, they’re not interested in a career, they seem to be totally disengaged.”

Well as we discussed in part 1 there may be underlying issues that are causing individual employees to underperform. Mental illness, substance abuse, and other societal influences can all play a part in producing an employee that doesn’t care.

But, if many of your employees don’t care I want you to ask yourself this question:

What kind of culture have I created in my business?

A Culture of Care

When you bring a group of people together, small or large, social structures are created. It is deeply ingrained in our biology, but what is not deeply ingrained is the health of that social structure.

In the wild, animals with social structures like chimpanzees, gorillas, and wolves always have an alpha. The group looks to the alpha for leadership and the alpha deeply influences what the group does and how the group acts.

Scientists studying this behavior have observed chimpanzees who are part of a group that is known for stealing, gorillas that are known for tough but fair discipline, and wolves that are vicious and other packs that compassionate.

My point is simple, your leadership will dictate the culture in your business. You are the alpha and what you say but more importantly what you do heavily influences the nature of the group.

“But I care deeply about my business and my employees just don’t”, you might be thinking.

I assume that is true, most business leaders, especially business owners, care deeply about their business and it is unrealistic for you to expect your employees to care more than you do.

Culture in a business is not primarily driven by how much people care about the business, it is primarily driven by how much the people in that group care about each other and what they are doing.

So, you can care about your business but if that doesn’t translate into caring for the employees the culture in the business will be reflected in the way your employees act. If they don’t care you don’t have a culture of caring.

Additionally, if the work you do sucks, meaning if it is physically demanding, if it involves cooking in a warehouse or poorly ventilated office or cooking in the summer and freezing in the winter outside, I don’t care who you are it’s going to be tough to really care about what you’re doing.

Unless of course, you have something more important to care about that makes working in those tough conditions worth it.

Guess what?

An average paycheck isn’t going to cut it.

If you have been listening to me for any length of time you will know where I am going with this. Leadership is the foundation, leaders must have a dream that resonates with customers and employees, managers must be leaders who operate a management system that you have created, and all of this leads to an environment that makes employees care.

So, if you want to create a culture of care within your business you are going to have to look at yourself in the mirror and do an objective self-examination. You must build into the very fabric of your business a deep commitment to fulfilling a worthwhile dream that creates a significant impact in the lives of your customers.

A dream that your employees can believe in.

Your employees must see you care so much that you have painstakingly developed a worthwhile dream, you have rigorously developed systems that make it easier for them to contribute to the fulfillment of that dream, and that you regularly show personal interest in them as a group and as individuals.

If you do all of that I promise your employees will care.

What does a better business that has developed an environment that supports a culture of care look like?

I will answer that after we hear from our sponsors.

Before the break, we asked the question, what does a better business that has developed an environment that supports a culture of care look like?

An Environment That Supports a Culture of Caring

Every business has a culture.

Let me introduce you to a better business that has a strong culture of caring by walking you through the experience of a person applying for a job at a business we will call; We Care Contracting.

We will call this person John. John had been very surprised by the entire experience of getting hired at this business called We Care Contracting. First, he didn’t think he stood a chance at getting this job, he really didn’t have very much experience in the trades and he was new to the area, so he didn’t know anyone at the company, and they didn’t know him.

The ad though was what gave him the courage to apply:

“Are you looking to change the lives of the fastest growing group of people in your community? Do you want to come home every day knowing you did something special? Are you willing to continuously learn and work hard in the trades with an amazing group of contractors? If you answered YES to all three questions please apply, no experience or resume necessary, please email or text Jessica today, all you have to do is let her know that you want to change the world.”

John texted Jessica at the number supplied with six words, “I want to change the world.”

Immediately, John had received a text back that said, “John, thank you so much for applying for the job. If you would be so kind, would you please take a personality assessment test, it will take you less than 15-minutes. This is the first step on your journey to joining us in changing the world.”

John clicked the link and 15-minutes later he was done the profile. He honestly thought he would never hear from them again.

Then his phone buzzed.

It was a Saturday afternoon, and the call display said, We Care Contracting.

He answered, and a delightful woman said, “John, my name is Jessica, thank you for taking the profile. I really appreciate the fact that you were willing to take 15-minutes out of your weekend. Please text me your email address. We would like to send you a calendar link, so you can schedule an interview at a time that is convenient for you. You are going to interview for the position of supervisor. Also, we would like to send you an e-transfer for $15.00. Use the money for gas, to take an Uber or public transit to the interview. Have a great day John.”

John hung up the phone, texted Jessica his email address and 5-minutes later he had scheduled an interview on Monday evening. This time slot was great because it allowed him to pick up his kids after school and get them home and settled. He also had $15 in his bank account.

“Who are these people, and did she say I would be interviewing for the position of supervisor?” he thought.

John was bubbling with excitement and all he talked about to anyone who would listen the rest of the weekend was about his interview with this company called We Care Contracting.

Monday evening came, and John arrived at the address they had given him 10-minutes early. He went to the bathroom to make sure that he still looked good for the interview, he made sure that his resume was on the top of his folder and he looked in the mirror.

“John, you’re going to get this job no matter what!” he told himself.

John came out of the bathroom and walked towards the seating area he had been told about and a picture had been sent to him, so he knew exactly where to go.

A woman was sitting on the couch and she smiled and stood up when she saw him walking toward her.

“John, I presume, I’m Jessica.”

Jessica shook John’s hand firmly.

“Thank you so much for taking time out of your schedule to meet with me.”

John thought to himself, “I should be thanking you Jessica” but he simply said, “my pleasure.”

The next hour seemed to go so fast as Jessica talked about why We Care Contracting was started, what they do for their ideal customers, and how they are growing and need people just like him to join them as they change the world for their customers. John was fascinated, he had never heard the owner of a company talk the way Jessica did.

Every time Jessica asked John a question, she listened so intently it almost made him nervous. He had never had someone really listen to him like that before.

Jessica then explained exactly what the supervisor position would involve, she talked about the training, the systems, and how he didn’t need any previous experience as a supervisor because the system would empower him to not only do the job but would make him a manager that leads.

Jessica then went through the results of his personality profile assessment and they talked about how his profile was an incredibly close match to the profile of the position. Jessica patiently explained the 7 traits that were measured and how it related to the position that he was being considered for.

John’s head was spinning with excitement, but he tried to hold back for fear that his eagerness would somehow ruin the moment, the spell would be broken, the interview would come to an end, and he would not get the job.

Jessica asked several times if John had any questions as the interview came to an end and when all John’s questions had been answered Jessica did something that was very unexpected.

She stood up, smiled warmly, shook John’s hand and said, “John, when is it convenient for you to start?”

John mumbled, “how about tomorrow?”

Jessica smiled, shook his hand one more time and said, “wonderful, come to our office at 8:00 am and I’ll introduce you to the owner and the rest of the team.”

“Wait a minute Jessica, you’re not the owner?” John stammered.

“No John, I’ve been with We Care Contracting for 7-months and one of my jobs is to run the Hiring System,” Jessica replied.

“Oh, I just assumed,” John replied.

“That’s okay John, I care about what we do at We Care Contracting as much as the owner, so I understand why you might have thought that. If you are surprised by this, I can’t wait to see your reaction when you go through the New Employees First Day System.” Jessica laughed and gave him a wink.

This story is fictional, but I want you to know that there are better businesses that operate this way. They are extremely rare but when it happens it is like magic, but it’s not magic, it’s simply a leader with a dream who goes to work on a business every day, who cares so much that they invest everything they have in creating a set of systems that are simple yet innovative. The result, of course, is that they attract people who want to be part of the dream and together those people build a better business. 

Your Standards Lead to Caring

When you think about, We Care Contracting’s Hiring System, what comes to mind?

Perhaps like me, you’re struck by the simple little things that were done to make John feel comfortable.

The appreciation that was shown for John taking up his time to consider working for them.

The systematic way that John was moved through the hiring process or how John never even gave Jessica his resume. He had it with him, but she never asked for it. Instead, they talked to each other and really listened to each other.

Maybe you picked up on the profile-first approach that was used and how the profile guided Jessica to select John who was an ideal match to the profile of the position.

I’ll let you in on a secret you might have guessed. I designed this hiring system. You see this is the kinds of documented systems that are built on a foundation of standards.

Standards lead to caring.

The higher your standards are the more people will appreciate them because high standards take into consideration the people involved and ensure that they are well taken care of.

Nothing about John’s experience was left to chance. John was the most important person the hiring system was designed for and that system ensured that Jessica did everything possible to make sure that John felt great about the whole experience.

I’m sure that you agree that this hiring system would elevate most businesses hiring practices to a standard that would be considered far above industry norms.

This would become an experiential differentiation for any business that adopted it and would lead to consistently hiring employees that care.

If you’re wondering about what would have happened if John was not an ideal match to the profile of the position or if during the interview Jessica realized that John was not a good fit for the culture of the business I assure you that the system would have guided her through every step and although John may have been disappointed that he did not get the job he would have felt respected and appreciated.

Standards lead to caring, caring leads to caring, and it has been my experience that most employees would absolutely love to work for a business like We Care Contracting.

So, the question simply is this:

“Are you going to build a better business by becoming a leader that dreams, and an employer of managers that lead and employees that care?”

This concludes part 2 of the mini-series, Build a Better Business – Employees That Care.

On Tuesday, in episode 91, I am going to introduce you to Chi Odogwu. Chi helps business leaders incorporate being a guest on podcasts into their marketing strategy.


This episode sponsored by:

Trackstar Web Design

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Process Street

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Thank you for listening and I look forward to working with you soon.

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