Why you should treat team members as people, not employees

by Ana Lopez

For subscribers

Gone are the days of a top-down, one-size-fits-all approach to managing workforces: Today’s employees are looking for personalization, and the better you meet their needs, the more successful your business will be.

Opinions of contributing entrepreneurs are their own.

I write regularly on the Red Rocket blog on employee experience and recruiting topics such as managing a virtual team, the potential benefits of an unlimited vacation policy, and swapping “me” for “we” in corporate communications. After looking at these posts, you might notice a consistent theme: they’re all employee-friendly policies designed to help employees cultivate their own identities at work. Why is this important? Because it’s harder than ever to recruit and retain staff, and the more you do to nurture long-term loyalty, the more your business will prosper and your employees will thrive. The core of this message is learning to treat staff as the people they are, not just employees.

Table of Contents

What is an “employee?”

Merriam-Webster defines this word as “one employed by the other, usually for pay or salary and in a position below the executive level” and for me the key words are “employed” and “below”. The latter gives the feeling that people are simply working for the company as a cog in the wheel, and not of the company — on a more equal footing with other colleagues. It is a definition that talks about hierarchy with employees working “below” layers of management. From an applicant’s point of view, that doesn’t sound very appealing.

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