Okay, that’s click-bait.
You should really treat your people like I treat my dog. (Well, not literally, because there are those people who consider belly rubs in the workplace inappropriate.)
I try never to walk past my dog Hunter without at least giving him a pat on the head. Most of the time, I take several minutes to give him that workplace-inappropriate belly rub. What if, every single time we encountered someone we lead, we invested time to express our sincere appreciation (appropriately)?
I provide for all of Hunter’s basic needs: food, shelter, veterinary care, exercise, and so on. But my family and I also give him a treat fairly frequently, whether it’s a snack or some scraps from a plate or his favorite, a pizza bone. Sometimes it’s because he performed a trick, but most of the time it’s just because everyone should get a treat every so often.
What if we gave our workers not just their basic earnings and benefits, but also something special on a regular basis, just because we appreciate them?
Hunter has had a couple of episodes that cost me dearly. Both were visits to the emergency vet, where you don’t walk in the door for less than a couple hundred bucks. I gladly paid it both times. When the people who spend at least a third of their lives helping us succeed run into those enormous challenges we all eventually encounter in life, whether a health crisis or a tragic personal loss, what if we were equally willing to pull out all the stops to get them what they need, whether extra time off or financial assistance or just a shoulder to cry on?
Hunter is enormously loyal to me and is usually beside himself with joy to see me when I return home after being gone. That’s just great. But I don’t do all these things because I want that loyalty or face licking – it’s just an extra benefit of having the best dog in the world.
I’m willing to bet that workers treated the way I describe would also be fiercely loyal employees. But that shouldn’t be the reason to act the way I describe – it should also be just a tangential benefit, an especially valuable one in today’s brutally competitive marketplace.
We should treat people that way because decency and kindness and a desire to be the best leaders we can – or really, the best people we can – all say that’s how we should treat people.