It is a common, perpetual, and indisputable fact that businesses are founded upon the principle of profit generation. To argue otherwise is to be self-deluded. If you are a serious entrepreneur, you will understand this. For a typical business, two main factors of production are indispensable--capital and labour. The degree to which you will be successful is very well dependent on how adept you are at striking a balance between profit-making and employee satisfaction amidst other concerns.

Think about it, you are human, aren’t you? Would you not want to work in a place where you don’t have to walk more than 150 feet to get food? Free food! Free lunch and dinner, health, fitness and laundry facility, car wash, oil-change, bike repair, massage therapy and salon—all in your company and at your company’s expense? Would you not want to give such a company your best? That’s what Google is doing for its employees! You shouldn’t be surprised the $370 billion dollar, just 16 years old behemoth is dominating the tech space.

When employees are consistently treated with trust, dignity, and respect, they will respond in kind. They will care about the company, their colleagues, and their customers. Employees will also display that care through service by treating customers beautifully, solving problems promptly, performing excellently, and working cooperatively. The way you treat employees is the way employees will treat your organisation.

In Nigeria, where many employees are treated like “second-class citizens”, much is not to be expected. You will find that in many Nigerian organisations, the customer sections are well-lit, beautiful, and inviting with aisles that are wide and decorated with beautiful signage to make the customers feel welcome ad comfortable. The customers are impressed.

But employee welfare is another matter entirely when you find that locker rooms are dirty and poorly-maintained. Trash bins are begging to be emptied, noisy machineries are threatening to deafen workers, health insurance is absent, labour laws are not being enforced and salaries are paid when they are long overdue.

It is not of course shocking to see workers resorting to incessant industrial strike actions over unpaid salaries and subhuman working conditions. Where staff cannot go on industrial strike actions like in most privately owned businesses, they are largely disgruntled people, just holding on to their job for pay, not because they feel fulfilled or love what they do. Little wonder, many of these overly ‘profit-centric’ organizations post losses year in year out and blame it on government or the economy. The message is crystal clear: a disgruntled worker can never be a productive worker.

The results of a study conducted by Towers Watson in 2012 revealed that companies that use engagement practices have operating margins of 27.4 percent compared to 14.3 percent for companies that focus on company’ goal and 9.9 percent that don’t engage their workers. As a leader in an organisation, you should display a genuine interest in the well-being of your employees, actively enquire and manage workloads, employ enough hands to get tasks done instead of overburdening the few, and be clear about targets and expectations. Also, strive to provide flexible work schedules, engage your employees, carry them along, seek their input, make refinements to policies that affect them based on their suggestions, keep refining these policies, and watch how your profit will rise. For more on this topic, read the Part 2.