Michael Hyatt, in his book Platform: Get Noticed in A Noisy World, defined platform as “the thing you have to stand on to get heard” (p. xvi). We often think of a platform as a stage built of wood. In today’s world, our platform is the people we influence. For some, their platform is their Facebook or Instagram followers; for celebrities, it’s their fan base; for bloggers, it’s the people who read their postings.
Another way to look at your platform—your influence—are the people within your charge. If you’re a business leader, your employees or your team are your platform. For churches, the church members are their platform. For a nonprofit, volunteers or donors become their platform. In a real sense, these people are the thing you stand on to get heard. And, what’s more, they have a voice regarding your influence. Your influence can be heard exponentially by the people’s voice within your sphere of influence.
In reality, the more people under your leadership would extend your influence and thereby build your platform.
If those people constitute your platform, then you need to care for those people within your control. In the same manner, you wouldn’t want a wooden platform to rot, leading to decay, neither would you want your people to become diseased or unhealthy. Their presence magnifies your voice.
Companies often say their most valuable asset is their employees. If that is true, then they should be cared for, attended to, and loved.
For that to happen, let me give you seven suggestions that you can implement in your business, your church, or your nonprofit ministry to strengthen the platform made of the people under your care.
- Have someone attend to their emotional, relational, and physical needs.
Unfortunately, people don’t turn off their problems when they arrive at work. We live in a day where the coronavirus is now a pandemic, causing worldwide panic. Other pandemics, however, exist that don’t get the attention of the coronavirus, such as loneliness, depression, and anxiety. The number of people suffering from these emotional issues is staggering. Now, with the coronavirus and the implementation of social distancing, loneliness, depression, and anxiety are heightened. And, the people with these issues are your workforce. Most companies are ill equipped to handle employee’s emotional, relational, and personal crises. You can proactively care for your employees by provide onsite counselors, caregivers, and resources. My company, Employee Care of America (ECA), serves this need through the use of onsite chaplains who are present for employees when they are onsite and are accessible 24/7 for crises and emergencies. Whatever your course of action, having someone onsite to care for your employees shows them that you care.
- Build a spirit of community.
Too many businesses and workplaces create competitiveness and distrust. Since most employees spend most of their awake time at work, the workplace should be a place of community. One of the companies ECA serves does this by having monthly birthday parties. The employees come together to share a meal and to spend time with one another. Another of our clients has regular meals on specific holidays with great food, exciting entertainment, and fun socialization. Another company has frequent employee recognition with games, prizes, and food. Another company provides gifts, gift cards, use of company lake house, and special incentives to show employees they are cared for and loved. These activities build a sense of community and comradery. Be creative in the ways you can develop and enhance the spirit of community in your organization.
- Provide logo apparel.
Another client company provides each employee with a clothing allowance so they can order apparel with the company’s logo. All the employees wear their company’s logo apparel with pride and distinction. Not only onsite, but when they are out in the community, they are building the company brand. When people ask about the logo, you want the employee to positively testify to your company’s encouraging culture, where leadership cares, and benefits meet their needs.
- Relate to employees as human beings.
Often, owners and executives communicate a superior attitude and status. While it may be justified since you have sacrificed and taken the risk to get where you are, it’s best to check that attitude at the door. Without your employees, you couldn’t have accomplished what you have or venture to where you need to go. Sometimes employees put leadership on a pedestal, but remember you have issues as they do, sometimes yours are more challenging and more expensive. At one client, an executive’s child is in rehab, following a difficult time in her life. Another CEO has dealt with severe anxiety. Both of these people have not hidden these issues from their employees. They know that when you show your vulnerability, it does not distance people from you; instead, it attracts people to you. It shows your employees that you are real and helps them to overcome their challenges.
- Look for ways to help your employees.
Leadership is at work to help employees deal with work issues, but a caring boss will look for opportunities to help with personal problems. When the tornadoes ripped through Spartanburg recently, one CEO called an employee who had a tree fall through his roof and didn’t ask “How can I help?” instead he said, “I’ve got some tarps, and I’m on my way over to help cover your roof.” That homeowner said it was the best thing anyone could have done at that moment. Another business owner had contract employees from out of state stay at his home when they were in town. Caring owners are always looking for ways to help their employees.
- Maintain an open-door policy.
Employees need to know that you are not too busy for them. It’s easy to get caught up in the challenges you have to face, but never get too busy for the people around you. Make yourself available. I tell my staff that when my door is closed, it’s to keep out distraction not to keep them out. They were always welcome to come in to talk. Making yourself available helps your employees feel valued and appreciated.
- Be quick to say, “Thanks.”
People are starved for appreciation. Mark Twain said, “I can live two months on a good compliment.” We aren’t any different. We long to hear words of recognition, affirmation, and appreciation. When you say “Thank you” to your employees, it shows that you’re paying attention to their work. You are acknowledging how much they matter to the business.
The thing you stand on to get heard in this world—your platform—is built on your employees. Like tools and machinery to accomplish your tasks, your employees need emotional maintaince. And, when you care for them, they care for your business. They feel a sense of ownership and pride. And, when they communicate those sentiments to others, your influence increases. Build your platform by caring for your employees.
To get more information and join the South Carolina Christian Chamber of Commerce (SC-C3) movement, go to www.sc-c3.org and become a member today!
Rick Ezell is the Managing Partner of Employee Care of America, a workplace chaplaincy business that serves clients in South Carolina and North Carolina. Learn more about ECA at www.employeecareofamerica.com or call 864-770-3560.