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Kindness & empathy

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Recently, I witnessed one of the dumbest things a business owner can say to an employee, pushing them to leave on the spot. That’s the inspiration for my post today.

This happened within a business that suffered tremendously from the past two years during the pandemic. The employee in question recognized that the business was short-staffed that day, and saw that the owner was behaving like a deer in the headlights. So the employee went the extra mile, working beyond her responsibilities cleaning, preparing, and prepping in advance so they wouldn’t be overloaded later on, then accepted overtime, and so on.

So, during the overtime, this employee noticed that no one was taking care of a specific task, so she took it on herself and accidentally broke something as she worked. It wasn’t expensive, and she apologized immediately and got a new item to replace it. Instead of thanking her, the owner dropped a bomb: “No, leave this! We don’t let immature people do this task.” She looked at him and left that second, leaving him trying to figure out what to do next.

This story may be more impactful with a little more backstory. In this company, there are four owners. Three of them are nice, and one is the guy in the story above. As a result of this owner, the company loses about a third of its staff every month.

The employee I was talking about earlier was only there for two months, and she was the 5th most senior employee of the 15 members of staff. I’m not kidding.

So, the moral of the story is this: it doesn’t matter how nice most bosses and owners are. If even one is destroying the company culture, you can bet your employees will leave. Offering your employees a minimum of respect and appreciation is not complicated. We are all imperfect human beings, and try to give our best to our employees and colleagues every day.

Empathy and kindness are not rocket science, so just do it!