What is the one key ingredient of all successful businesses? At an online event last October, Chinoy businessman Josiah Go, Chairman and Chief Innovation Strategist of Mansmith and Fielders Inc., explained how Chooks-to-Go innovated in the pandemic by deploying food trucks to go to the people instead of the people going to their stores. And so, in my previous article, I concluded that the one key ingredient of all successful businesses was innovation.
That’s still right, but it’s definitely incomplete. It’s incomplete because it doesn’t explicitly take into account those who make the business possible in the first place: its employees.
Simply put, good businesses always care for their staff and pay them well. I will explain why I strongly believe in this using two different perspectives: a business-human resources perspective and the Catholic Social Teaching perspective.
Human Resources Perspective
First is the business and human resources perspective. Together with making profit, I think all serious businesses want one thing: sustainability. They want their company to be around in the long run. They want stability. They desire to be remembered by their customers and clients.
All that is great. Indeed, business sustainability saves people a lot of stress because transitioning from one boss to another, from one employee to another, requires orientations, training, and of course, getting used to the system.
But I find it hard to believe that it is possible to maintain stability without a stable and sustainable employee system. If a business experiences the phenomenon of many of its employees — especially those in the higher ups — leaving on a large scale, I think there’s a serious problem, more so if they leave to work for another business. That could mean that the other business has something that you don’t and/or the employees are no longer happy.
Nonetheless, a business can still earn profit while experiencing the phenomenon of its employees leaving on a large scale. But if it wants stability and less problems, it ought to treat its employees well. That doesn’t mean babying them. It simply means giving them a reason to stay, incentivizing them with new and fun opportunities. Employees should always continue to have their whys, and employers treating them well plays a big part in that, in my opinion.
Catholic Social Teaching Perspective
The second is the Catholic Social Teaching (CST) perspective. CST looks at human dignity — everyone is created in imago Dei, in the image and likeness of God. Yes, that includes all people, like the beggars on the streets, and … your employees.
Now what do you do when you don’t pay them justly? You trample on their dignity. What do you do when you constantly overwork them and not compensate? You rob them of their joy and mental health. What do you do when you don’t recognize their hard-earned skills and unique talents and pay them minimally? You fail to recognize their worth.
Now, what about tough love? Training them? Making sure they don’t overstep and always stay humble? All that is great. But that doesn’t give you the right to pay them unjustly, withhold wages, and treat them poorly.
I would also argue that the minimum wage in the Philippines is unfortunately low for many employees who have families to support. Employers have to take into account as well.
With these two perspectives — Human Resources and Catholic Social Teaching — what, then, does practicing business constitute? It constitutes making profit and sharing that profit. Practicing business then becomes a venture of not just the employer and his or her family, but his or her employees and their families as well. Imagine if you have 20 employees who belong to families of four. That’s already an astounding 80 people! That’s why it’s so crucial that a business does well.
I would like to leave you with this quote by businessman Robert Tan, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” May businesses indeed venture together with their employees to make the world a more just place.
The author of this article:
An accomplished young Chinese Filipino writer and media personality, Aaron S. Medina is associated with the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the Ateneo de Manila University Chinese Studies Program, the Philippine Association for Chinese Studies, and CHiNOY TV. He has a passion for truth, justice, and Pokémon, too! Follow him on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aaron.joseph.s.medina/