In My View… Staff and business benefits in the New Year?
Published 09:00 on 27 Dec 2018
Ebenezer Scrooge, from Charles Dickens' story 'A Christmas Carol', was an inconsiderate, miserly and very demanding boss. His drive for results is legendary and, unfortunately, this came at the expense of his only employee, Bob Cratchit.
Bob had to work long hours in a cold, dark and lonely office with only basic equipment (a quill pen and ink). He was required to work overtime at short notice and had little time with his family, including his seriously ill son. He did, however, have job security and a steady income with a relatively successful firm.
Today, we have nearly full-employment and businesses compete for skilled and experienced staff. However, we also have the highest ever in-work poverty (for modern times), with many people holding down two or three jobs to make ends meet. This raises ethical questions about social responsibility. Do employers have a responsibility to their employees, if so, how far should they go? How should businesses value people's labour and people's lives? Should we do more to protect people in their jobs?
Scrooge's epiphany came when he saw his miserable future laid before him – it was enough for him to change his ways, firstly with a pay-rise for Bob, then extensive family friendly and staff engagement policies (unfortunately, it would be a hundred years before technology would improve the lot of the accounting clerk).
In my view, businesses can (and should) do much more to support and manage their people through change. When faced with a decision that may have a negative effect on your staff, ask yourself this; 'just because I can, does it mean I should?' There is nothing wrong in being a very demanding boss; if you combine consideration with your drive for results, then everyone wins.
CCCI members' meetings and events give businesses the chance to talk about issues that are important to them. Meeting other business people and getting to know them in a relaxed and supportive atmosphere provides members with their own informal support network – as well as the opportunity to develop good business relationships.
Dianne Lambdin, Director of Chichester Chamber of Commerce & Industry and The Sussex HR Hub
Last updated 09:14 on 3 March 2021