Does fair play cost too much for business?
Earlier this week, the Archbishop of Canterbury was quoted by the Telegraph saying that “economic growth is not enough to make Britain a ‘healthy society’” and that creating a more caring society is just as important.
Certainly, a strong economy is important to funding our homes, food and energy as well as the public services we all need and the care that many people need. But the way in which we generate wealth is also important.
Care for employees and customers is equally as important as caring about shareholders.
We started pleaseandthanks.co.uk back in 2004 because we noticed a lack of courtesy in business. We don’t just mean not saying ‘please and thanks’ but people being utterly miserable because of an oppressive work environment. We saw that much of this could be improved simply by changing behaviour. Courtesy and caring costs nothing but can achieve a great deal. From a purely economic point of view, we recall the late Albert Humphrey’s research which showed that an atmosphere of ‘fair play’ increased the amount of energy employees put into their work.
Material conditions such as fair wages and employment facilities and conditions are important, but so is the way businesses treat their people and their customers.
As we emerge from the recession, it is time to consider how we want to behave as we see the prospect of pressure easing. While it is reasonable to expect those who can to work hard, it is also reasonable expect them to be treated fairly.
From the prices customers pay for products and services to the treatment of staff, there is massive opportunity for businesses to practise fair play. And we don’t believe it need be a cost but could offer considerable opportunity.
• Written by Robert Zarywacz | UK writer, PR and journalist | founder of pressme.co.uk | partner in Zarywacz | chairman of COMBEbusiness | courtesy consultant at pleaseandthanks.co.uk and the National Campaign for Courtesy | Find me on Google+