Self ridge. "They are not clockwatchers and they have been loyal."
There are few employees who would not be "satisfactory" and "loyal" if treated according to this great merchant's plan of campaign, which he sums up thus:
"Pay your employees decent living wages, and don't make them afraid of you. A smile and a pleasant word go a mighty long way. Instil into them a feeling of responsibility, make them feel that they are a necessary unit, a wheel, if only a small one, but a necessary wheel in the large system of the store. In short, treat them as you would wish to be treated yourself, or as you would like to see your children treated."
Henry Ford, John Wanamaker, Charles M. Schwab and others of our most prominent and successful merchants and manufacturers owe their success and their popularity with their employees to the same sort of business methods which won H. Gordon Selfridge his great London success.
Mr. Schwab told me recently that he is having wonderful results from his profit-sharing policy. He says that before any dividends are paid the first fifteen per cent, of all profits in the business are divided among his employees. One of his head men, in addition to his salary, received last year over a million dollars and another received four hundred thousand dollars on the profit-sharing plan.
Henry Ford, discussing his novel plan of profit sharing in advance, with an interviewer, said: "If I can further strengthen the goodwill of the thousands of men working in our factories it stands to reason that they are going to do better work for us, does it not?"
Mr. Ford had been sharing profits with his employees in the usual way after the profits had been made, but when he announced his purpose of paying his men in advance their share of the profits the firm figured on making each year, the industrial world regarded his scheme as quixotic. Mr. Ford, however, insisted that it was only social justice, though he believed it was besides a matter of business in obtaining the good-will of his employees. "If men will work better," he reasoned, "in the mere hope of something better, how will they work with that something actually in hand? We have calculated to a definite cer tainty what business we shall do the coming year. We know the capacity of our plant and we know what the profits will be. Ten millions of dollars of these anticipated profits will go to the men who work by the day. They are not to get this with an 'if attached to it. They are to get their share every two weeks. We can do that because they are going to aid us in making the profits:
"Of course we, the members of the company, will derive a benefit from their better work, but even if we do not make an increased profit in dollars and cents we would have the satisfaction of making twenty thousand men prosperous and contented, rather than making a few slave-drivers in our plant millionaires."
That is love's way in business. And it pays royally, not only in making better men and better workers, but also in making profits.
Andrew Carnegie says that if he were to start in the steel business again he would adopt the profit-sharing plan with all of his employees, thus making them feel that they were really partners instead of employees.
The employer who can make his employees feel that they are virtually partners in the business instead of merely working for a salary is calling out of his employees a quality of work which can never be brought out in any other way. Really up-to-date, efficient business men know that the slave-driving, bulldozing, domineering methods, the nagging, suspicious, faultfinding methods do not bring the desired results. All business men are finding that a one-sided bargain, whether with customer or employee, is a bad bargain.
Good fellowship between employers and employees is the very foundation of successful business management, and good fellowship cannot exist where there is injustice, bullying and constant faultfinding, or a spirit of superiority on the part of employers, where the employees do not have fair treatment and are made to feel that they are dependents of the employer.
It is human nature to resent unfairness, to resent being patronized, to resent injustice. Good fellowship means team work, and perfect team work is impossible where either employee or employer is dissatisfied, where there is a feeling of resentment or ill will. Good fellowship between employer and employed is one of the greatest assets in business.
This good fellowship or good-will spirit is one of the most noticeable features of the John Wanamaker stores. Mr. Wanamaker's employees have been heard to say, "We can work better for a week after a pleasant 'Good morning' from Mr. Wanamaker." His kindly disposition and cheerful manner, and his desire to create a pleasant feeling and diffuse good cheer among those who work for him have had a great deal to do with this merchant's remarkable success.
Another big employer who has a thousand employees in his factory recently said to a visitor: "I want you to take a walk through the place with me and see if you can find a sullen or discontented face. I know everyone of my employees by their first name and they all know me. If anyone has a grievance, he or she can find their way to my office and no one can keep them out, and they know that they will get justice. I consider myself responsible for the moral and physical well-being of every girl in the place from the moment she enters in the morning until she leaves in the evening. I not only want my girls to be contented while they are working, but I want them to go home that way and arrive that way in the morning. You don't see any of these girls speeding up and looking unusually busy when I come round. They know that I am not that kind of man. When business is slow I tell them to let up and take their time because we will have to work very hard in December. The result is that without a word from me they will turn out three times as much work in December as they do in April.