This is a follow-up thought on my last post about being an employee right now. All of this has sort of led me to take a step back and see the true value of a job and the role that small businesses like ours play in people’s lives. When you have a successful business you have the amazing opportunity and privilege to create jobs. A few years ago, I would have said “big deal, if I don’t create a job there are a million other opportunities out there”. Clearly now, there are not. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment rose to 7.6% in January. That’s a lot of people without work. Every single job matters.
We’ve managed to go much further than I anticipated without hiring a full-time employee, mostly because we’ve managed to “lean-out” our processes to the point where we can offset our growth with our efficiencies. Of course, that won’t last. If we continue our growth at anywhere close to the current pace, by the end of 2010 I don’t see how we don’t have 1 – 3 full-time employees.
At times, the thought of this has stressed me out. Finding good employees is a lot of work. Managing employees is a lot of work. There is a lot that we have to put in place prior to bringing someone in if we want them to have a decent chance at succeeding at their job. But now, like I said above, I see this as a great opportunity and a privilege, and in turn am now very much looking forward to it.
We will be able to provide a living for someone who otherwise may not have had a job. They will be able to take care of their family because of the job we created. We will have the opportunity to continue to grow our culture in a way that makes everyone feel good about coming to work. I’m looking forward to paying for their health insurance and providing them with a fair salary. I’m looking forward to listening to their ideas. I’m looking forward to making sure that that they know that I/we value their work and that we couldn’t succeed without them.
So many companies get it wrong and treat their people as if they are just “things” that can be tossed around. They do it solely in the name of profit. That’s how they justify it. I don’t ever want to do that. A person is a person, just like you or I. They should be treated like the equal that they are.
It might be this year or it might be next year, but whenever it is I can’t wait to take on this challenge. Even if it is just one employee at a time.