Public speaking-oriented social events, and employee-taught classes and seminars build internal strength and unity, rather than demonstrating a lack of faith in the company professionals to educate within their own ranks. This sort of job resource and asset development that is essential. Using consultants, motivational speakers, and efficiency experts is becoming a thing of the past, because they inherently call into question the abilities of the business as a whole.
The approach that Intuit takes shows confidence in the ability of their staff to be even better, and focuses on education and enlightenment, rather than wrist-slapping and inefficiency. Focusing on the negative doesn’t motivate people to improve, it reminds them of any inadequacies they might have. And while over-confidence in genuinely lacking abilities isn’t good, presenting interesting and fun options as a choice for people to pursue is more likely to lead to success than forcing people to “be better at their job”.
A company that cultivates a sense of constant learning will see the happiness that almost everyone experiences when they master some new technique, conquer a fear, or pass an exam they had previously thought impossible. Hours at work are transient, but success and developed intellect leaves a more permanent mark on a person and on all their behavior in the future. It is essential to put programs and resources into place to make employees want to improve; the taskmaster from an obsolescent approach to business theory won’t be able to motivate through fear, even of losing your job. Motivation that comes from within is so much more powerful and lasts a lot longer as well.
Companies were sometimes resistant to this change, quoting auxiliary costs, inefficient use of company time, and loss of productivity, but those are the same arguments against any sweeping change. Look at the big picture of modern business, because unless you want your company to be a flash in the pan and forgotten in the local community or global markets in a few years, certain changes must occur. Instead of replacing inexperienced or unqualified employees with outside hires, isn’t it more efficient to install in-house advancement programs? Rather than sorting through thousands of job applications, wouldn’t it be cheaper to pull from an intern program that has already found interested and innovative young people with a working knowledge of the company?
If a manager is struggling, but is respected by his workers, won’t he appreciate the chance to earn even more respect by fixing his problems quietly and respectfully, in a way that will benefit him in all walks of life? Treating employees as assets instead of cogs in the machine may sound equally impersonal, but the treatment they receive will be far better, and when you consider the definition of an asset, “a useful or valuable thing, person, or quality,” the difference becomes clear.
As employees, having an extensive network of job resources will raise the skill level of the entire company. As people, being able to improve themselves with the support of a company that wants to see them succeed, rather than one that is waiting for them to stumble, will build confidence and loyalty to the company, as well as a deep appreciation of their work. Intuit, and other happy companies that are pushing their employees to be greater than ever before, may be building software, computers, websites, and consumer products, but they are building something more valuable as well a community of respectful and capable people who understand the value of hard work, self-motivation, and loyalty.