Why Ask Why?

You see it everywhere, not just in business–how to accomplish, how to sell, how to use the formula to solve the math problem.  What’s missing is why.

Procedure…Goal…Expectation. Is it necessary to know why?

Does it make a difference in sales…production?

It’s not that we need to ask the question why for our every move, but to ask the why of our actions as a whole.  We may ask why we are in engineering, food service, software development, retail, education…but perhaps what is even more relevant–why is what I am doing important to me? To others?

Why is why important in business?

Without the why in our actions, there is no sustainable purpose.

Eventually the question will surface in employees’ minds, begging for an answer.  If not addressed upfront, the employer runs the risk of employee dissatisfaction, frequent employee turnover, non-productive work environment.

Why am I here?

Making money to pay the bills is a typical answer, though it is usually not the answer given to the prospective employer when he poses the question, “Why do you want to work here?” And, in reality, it is rarely the only reason.  Money may be a fantastic motivator, but that alone does not sustain employees in the company if they have a choice.  If there is dissatisfaction or no reason for loyalty, employees will look for other jobs to make money.  Choosing a career because of money alone can run a business afoul in several ways.

The absence of why:

  1.  Breeds dishonesty.
  2.  Creates apathy toward customers’ needs.
  3.  Prioritizes self and not service.
  4.  Prevents employee or customer loyalty

As an employer, if money is the one enticing factor in hiring,

  1.  Will your choices for hiring be the people you really want?
  2.  Will your employees be fickle–if someone offers them more, what is keeping them at your company?
  3.  Can you keep up with the monetary challenge?

The Point of Loyalty

Why do employees care about their work?  Do they believe in the product they are building or selling, the subject they are teaching?

Since the employee invests so much of his time and energy into a career, the sustaining force is belief in the cause, mission, or product that he is responsible for and what he is working toward accomplishing.

Several considerations come into play.  We all need to fulfill our self-worth, to be contributors to society.  If we do not have a purpose, or if not provided a purpose, how long can we remain in that situation?  How long should we?

How much does loyalty cost?

While it is true that the offer of stocks, generous benefits and vacation time, etc., may lure the prospective employee to the company, realize that other employers in a competitive hiring process may offer the same or more.  One-upping may work in the hire, but it doesn’t guarantee the employee will stay long or be as effective as hoped.

To build a strong, loyal company, employees need to feel they are investing their time, energy, and priorities in a worthwhile venture.  The company cost is an investment in its employees so they are willing to build a successful, worthwhile company.

How To Attain Loyalty

Employee training/learning should include, first and foremost, company pride in its employees and its customers.  Then, weave this theme into the framework of the company.

Employees need to know:

  1. What product(s) or services the company provides.
  2. What positive factors set your company apart from its competitors.
  3. Ways in which the company demonstrates its respect for customers.
  4. How quickly and how often employee contribution is appropriately and genuinely realized. Positive Action – Positive Reaction. Does anyone really care about “employee of the month?”
  5. How much your employer is willing to invest in you to become a better employee–this includes listening, training, personal education, flexibility in schedules, job placement to match abilities/increase satisfaction and productivity.

When the employer believes in the employee’s value to the company and provides the incentive to trust and believe in the company’s intent, as well as product and service, chances are high that employee(s) will be valuable not only in production, but will increase sales by singing the company’s praises and standing proud of its accomplishments.