By Spencer Yarnell, Head of Spreading the Herd Word
People are different. You can’t treat them the same. This is especially true in the workplace. Let me tell a little story about my hearty upbringing to demonstrate.
When I was growing up I used to kick and scream about how I was scolded more frequently than my brother and sister. I used to grumble in high school when I was made to keep a part time job while my brother and sister did no such thing.
To a child and especially a sixteen year-old the injustice must have been nigh unbearable, but looking back I see reason for such oppression. I always was a bit more of an agent of chaos than my siblings and without steady (and often stern guidance) my ‘creative’ pursuits could turn destructive. My parents intelligently realized this and spent far more time and sternness guiding my chaos than with my brother or sister. I like to think I’ve come out better for it.
How does this apply to the workplace? Well in general employers want to make employees better at their jobs so they provide more value. Now in sculpting employees if an employer takes a one size fits all approach clearly it won’t be optimized to help all employees as much as it could.
Here’s the thing the fact is in spite of whatever perceived injustice you can’t treat people the same. As an employer you have to expect and work on different things with an introverted quiet employee as opposed to a loud brash (possibly obnoxious) employee. Understanding this and putting it into practice is key to optimizing an employee’s growth.
One final caveat. I think there’s a large distinction between treating people the same and treating people equally. You can do one without the other.
P.S. In a post last week I mentioned we’d be cleaning on Tuesday. I’d like to take this time to say since it’s a pretty busy payroll week we’ll actually be cleaning on Friday. Thanks for your patience!
IBEX Payroll extends our profound respect and immeasurable gratitude to all the ancestors and keepers of the land on whose traditional territories our work takes place. We acknowledge that we are on Treaty 1 territory, the traditional gathering place of the Anishinaabe, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota and Dene people and the traditional homeland of the Métis people. This land is sacred, historical, and significant.
Every time we acknowledge this truth, we have an invitation and an opportunity to reflect on the wrongs of the past, what we do in the present, and what we can do to continually honour the people whose lands and water we benefit from today.
This statement only acts as a first step in honouring the land we reside on and its peoples, and must be paired with education, understanding and informed action.
A book given to me by a VERY SMART BOSS echos this post, and suggests you should spend more time with your best employees than your weakest. Imagine how successful your team can be if your best employees improve beyond their current great performance! Is that treating people the equally? No, it is giving the same attention to each employee based on how well they are doing.
I have shared this book with my current boss, who is noticing the benefits of this very concept.
But what if you could get your weakest employees up to the performance and engagement levels of your strongest? While this is obviously not achievable in any circumstance its a good goal to shoot for. I think you can absolutely be treating people equally while giving them a very different regimen of training. I’m of the opinion that we should really try to save and work with all employees since turnover can be a costly issue. I’m curious though, what is the name of this book?