Growing Business: The Terms and Numbers Do Matter

imageTerms are important in growing a business. Let us consider two very important terms: Employee, Human Assets.

Employee. There’s a tone of feudal ownership, of me boss – you worker, me worth more – you worth not so much, that is offensive to anyone categorized as employee.

Human Asset. The same sentiment is found with the term human asset. It is hard not to hear slave in that term. Assets are inanimate objects, with no heart no dreams no passions of their own. The term human assets denotes the human, you and I, who are owned and directed with no free will, to engage or not, who cares about our meaning…towards the corporate goals.

Disclaimer: Hold on. I stand on this side of the economic river. Workers of the world unite is as patronizing as Human assets are a corporation’s number one asset. Karl, you and Vlady, were no different than those you criticized.

These terms have created business culture best described with this term: uncaring. And the numbers generated from this  term do matter:

29%. Paul Herr, author of Primal Management, references a recent Gallup Poll that found only 29% of workers care about their work.  There is so much disconnect and dysfunction in this statistic. The majority, 71%, in a company labeled as workers do not care about their work.

That is the problem. These terms, employee and human assets, and their tones and meanings are bandied about freely when discussing how to grow a business. And we have grown so many businesses with these terms we can see the results: 29% of us, you and I, do not care.

We  lack the words to create a world where we, that is still you and I, can find and create purpose and meaning in our life, together or separately or back-and-forth, join together for common goals and then join others for the same purpose, recognize our strengths and contributions,  create a brand worth admiring, create a brand whose value justifies a price with sufficient margins to generate positive cash-flows.

There are some words in that last paragraph that may be squishy to some readers. We,  or find and create purpose and meaning in our lifecommon goals or join others…very squishy. They are very squishy if you look at your company’s reports that show in hard numbers the results of those squishy words as they are brought to life, or not,  in your company.

The squishy words brought to life create the rich, literally, filling (and stakeholder reports) in a company.

Purpose and meaning, common goals, recognition and praise, joining others to innovate new products to carve and claim a new territory, all work to create a brand that evokes pride in those who create and share it whether it is …(suggest a new term in comments, please) employees or human assets doing it or your customers sharing it in word-of-mouth or your partners and vendors seeking closer relationships for their common goals. (Relationships is a very squishy word.)

You say that is a little vague? You’re right.  Here are some harder numbers that reflect our choice or our lack of choice of words to describe those who make a brand happen (that’s you and I, again) :

2 of 10 and 10%. According to a recent study by the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) two of 10 companies said that just 10% [of their employees] could echo their mission statement.

Yawn. Who cares much less knows about a ‘mission statement’. Ok.

40%. Eric Brody at Healthy Conversations shared this recently:

In a recent article on MarketingProfs, Gallup research of 300,000 businesses indicated that 75-80% of employees are achieving much less and feeling far less enthusiastic about their work than they could be. If all your employees were “fully engaged,” Gallup reported, your customers would be 70% more loyal, your turnover would drop by 70%, and your profits would jump 40%. Last, Gallup found that great employees also tend to engender “passionate” customers.

Would you like to be part of a culture whose results generated 40% more profit, where the numbers of disgruntled alienated colleagues would drop by 70% or more…?

Now you may sense a whiff of that rich filling shared in stakeholder’s reports where an organization can find the terms to create their world.

3 and $0. Mary Corbitt Clark, Executive Director of Winning Workplaces (That’s a term we can use…), shared three things you can do to create a winning workplace. They cost $0.

Talk to employees.

Share information with employees.

Bring people together to solve problems.


I like that last term...people. (Learning new vocabulary is a work in progress)

Bottom line ( a hard term)

Would you be willing to take these three steps if:

  • your profits rose by 40%
  • your people turnover costs dropped by 70%

Terms and numbers. They do matter. Terms first create our world. Numbers report our successes.

About the author: Zane Safrit’s passion is small business and the operations excellence required to deliver a product that creates word-of-mouth, customer referrals and instills pride in those whose passion created it. He previously served as CEO of a small business. Zane’s blog can be found at Zane Safrit.