Our company owners just bought us a treadmill for the office. In fact, they are going to do the same for all the offices that have room for one. One of the reasons they did it was because they read the recent press about how being sedentary can be harmful to one’s overall health. Our jobs can be tough and quite stressful at times, but they aren’t physically demanding. Consequently, if we don’t get enough exercise during our off-times our bodies pay an entirely different kind of price.
Now, there are lots of valid business reasons for doing such a thing, especially since our company pays a portion of our health insurance and invests lots of money and resources into the things that give us the knowledge to make us good at our jobs (seminars, training, conventions, etc.). Being in the staffing industry, we also have lots of valuable and often irreplaceable client relationships developed over years of service. Consequently, my keeling over at age 39 from a severe case of ‘too-much-sittingitis’ isn’t exactly in their business interests.
However, being the kind of bosses they are (there are two of them, brothers), I know the main reason they did it – because they truly care about us. In a wonderful testament to the kind of company culture that’s created just by actively caring about employees and putting forth policies that reflect that, I suspect, nay I KNOW that most of our other internal long-term employees would testify to this as well.
I’m not writing all this to brag about where I work. In fact, I began thinking about this topic after reading an article about a local car dealership that topped a magazine’s list of ‘best-to-work-for’ stores because of, among other things, ‘dog days,’ when employees can bring their pets to work, gym and sports league memberships, and setting up an endowment to help employees in need.
That got me to thinking – if a car dealership thinks it’s important to take care of, and consequently keep, its employees, shouldn’t staffing companies do the same? In a business where relationships are crucial, why should clients stay loyal to a staffing company when they are dealing with, and having to train, a different staffer every 6 months? Conversely, in a world where everyone knows that people generally don’t leave their jobs – they leave their boss – what does it say about a staffing company that has only been in business for 20 years, yet has multiple employees who have been there almost the entire time, or at least since the office they work in opened?
This brings to mind a conversation I had with a prospective client. In the midst of a stressful work day he was complaining about how he has to ‘train’ yet another rep at the agency they are using. He asked if we pay our folks more than $10 per hour because, to his knowledge, that was all this agency’s reps made. No benefits. No frills. No nothing. If you don’t think your employees will talk to your clients about things like pay and working conditions, think again. In this case, if it were solely his decision we would already be replacing that agency.
We’re definitely not the largest staffing company out there by far, so we can’t afford all the frills and benefits some other companies could (not to mention those who could afford it but don’t!). And yet, I know they do as much as they can do for us. And even in a business model where margins don’t allow much if any benefits for temps, we do as much as we can for them too.
Word gets around, and we keep the clients we have and get more. Doing right is always a win-win…
After I walk on the treadmill today, maybe I should talk to my boss about ‘pet day!’