#5 Employee Retention Triple Bottom Line

What’s the bottom line for your organization? One powerful way to attract and retain the best and brightest is to replace your “bottom line” with the Triple Bottom Line (People, Planet, Profit/Performance), which is one definition of true Sustainability. Why does this work?

The unwritten social contract of a typical organization is this: employees work for what the bosses value, which is usually money for the owners, in exchange for a paycheck. Employees are expected to be loyal to the organization and help it succeed, even at some cost to themselves and what they value, for example, missing a child’s soccer game because of required overtime.

What if an organization asked employees what they valued, then asked them to help the organization’s products and services reflect and support those values? I’ve consulted in countless organizations on four continents. The one constant I have seen, no matter the country or the level in an organization (janitor to CEO), is pictures of family. So an organization could ask employees, “Help our organization provide a better life for your family.” You shift your bottom line from “profit/performance” to people, planet, profit/performance, the Triple Bottom Line. Employees become fiercely loyal, because your organization, with their active participation, is making a difference for the people they love.

Cost/benefits? The cost is the increased complexity of decision-making. The benefit is a highly engaged and loyal workforce; you will be attracting and retaining the best and brightest with the same pay scales as before. This will result in improved performance, both financial and non-financial, and your competition won’t be able to copy it.

How can you do this? Use (or create) your weekly continuous improvement teams, but change their focus from improving quality and cutting waste to using your products and services to improve the quality of life of their loved ones. If you’d like more information on continuous improvement teams, please feel free to contact me. No cost, no obligation, of course.

Want to learn more? I not-so-humbly recommend a business novel, The Squeeze – a novel approach to business sustainability. (I’m the author.) It is indeed a novel with dialogue and a road trip. It also has footnotes to support the facts that its characters discover. When I was about halfway through writing it, it took on a life of its own: the characters started creating their own dialogue and changed the plot. If you’d like an autographed copy, let me know.


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