Imagine you are the CEO or chairman of a multinational company with a market capitalisation of $3-4 billion. You have about 7500 employees.
Companies without soul
But the board decides that you need to be more profitable and ‘efficient’, to keep the shareholders happy. This process means layoffs, which means countless people without livelihoods.
Now imagine that you were the person who proposed this to the board? And the decision was taken.
Read more from Thomas: Are we slowly losing empathy?
There are job losses. Good, hardworking, sincere people have now been placed in a precarious situation because you wanted to look good on the TIME cover with your ‘visionary’ approach. Who do you answer to?
The answer comes as no surprise. No one. You have done it for your own personal brand equity and the investors who feed it.
That is the dilemma today. People don't work for large corporations because they love the vision. They work because they provide them with a good pay package and other incentives. So you don’t look to a company, its offer and say “hey! I love the vision and passion of the company. I am going to be there til I die.”
If you do, then you are one of the endangered species. But today people say “hey, the package is good, so I am going in”. They crack their interviews by talking about the company and its objectives without believing in any of them.
You can’t blame them. Companies today don’t treat employees as valued stakeholders. That’s a human resources spiel given to make the company look presentable and all-inclusive.
Companies do select candidates today based on gender, race and religion - only strategically. People who do get through, live and work as if a Damocles’ sword is above them.
If they get fired, the spiel in most cases is always the economic downturn. Performance is rarely the issue. Often times, the actual reason for employees getting fired is because someone senior feels challenged. Nobody likes a so-called smarty pants, so you get rid of him/her. There have even been instances in large, family owned organisations where bosses have fired people for not liking their faces.
Instances such as these make companies seem soulless. Brands become a statement. And people become machines driven by process - not instinct or creativity.
So why would anyone work passionately if there is nothing to hope for?
This is the question companies need to address.
Do we continue with the soulless behemoths consuming the life force that made us what we are? Or, do we become the change that we want our employees to see?
The answers here will provide the path.