There are many very successful business owners and CEO’s that take great pride not only in the product or service they sell, but also in the relationship they have with their employees. They genuinely care that their employees make a living wage and have opportunities for education and advancement.
They understand the difference between greed and ambition.
Unfortunately many do not understand that distinction. In a great economy the greedy may fail to attract and keep great employees; but in this economy many employees feel grateful to have any job – even while they feel a building resentment toward their greedy bosses.
So, what’s the difference between greed and ambition and how can you tell when you have crossed the line?
Here is a simple test:
If you are driving a car that cost three times your lowest paid employees annual wage (or spend a similar sum on a different luxury), can you meet this criteria?
My lowest paid employee is paid well enough to house, feed and provide health coverage for all of his/her family members.
My lowest paid employees are given opportunities for education and growth.
My full time employees do not qualify for aid. Their kids don’t get free lunch or have Medicaid or state subsidized insurance, the family does not need food stamps or subsidized housing.
My college educated employees are paid a wage high enough to allow them to repay their student loans.
The ugly truth is some businesses have used the poor economy as an excuse to exploit their workforce. They have cut hours and/or cut staff and imposed long unpaid overtime hours on salaried staff. They have frozen wages and cut benefits. The businesses have done these things not because it is an economic necessity but because they can.
These misguided company leaders underestimate the power of an engaged and motivated workforce. They are failing to invest in their company’s’ most important asset, and it will affect their future growth.
Even more disturbing is the fact that these potential community leaders have no ability to demonstrate consideration and compassion even for those that work for them.
If you struggle with greed cut out the quote below and tape it to the edge of that $80K rear view mirror.