The Soul of the Organization

The People Are the Soul: Why Companies Die From the Inside

A corporation may have its roots in legal documents and its fruits in products or services, but let’s not forget the lifeblood coursing through its veins: people. Without them, even the most robust business models, strategies, or innovations are as good as dead. It’s time to draw a line in the sand and say that people are not just the workforce—they’re the corporate soul. When mistreated or misunderstood, this soul withers, and businesses die from the inside out.

Apple’s People-Powered Genius

When Steve Jobs uttered, “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do,” he was setting the gold standard for corporate culture. A 2019 Glassdoor survey indicated that Apple ranks 71st among the best places to work. Still, its consistent place on the Forbes list of most profitable companies is no accident. Apple’s ingrained philosophy of employee empowerment fuels its innovative culture. Engineers and designers at Apple aren’t just doing a job; they’re fulfilling a mission. They are encouraged to question, challenge, and most importantly, innovate. This ethos of valuing the individual’s creative power translates to groundbreaking products that change how society interacts with technology. Apple’s people are its soul, the driving force behind its iconic brand.

A Spiritless Enterprise is a Failing One

Some argue that focusing on employees is nothing but an HR fad. They’re wrong, and Herb Kelleher’s stance, “Your employees come first,” nails it. The Harvard Business Review study of 2018 supports this by showing companies with strong cultures had a 400% increase in revenue growth over 11 years. Culture isn’t merely an HR buzzword; it’s the linchpin that holds a corporation together. To build a successful, sustainable business, you need to create a culture that cultivates and honors its corporate soul—the people. When the spirit is sapped, the enterprise crumbles, it’s as simple as that.

The Schwab Example: Praise Over Criticism

Charles Schwab weighed in on the corporate culture dialogue with, “I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among my people the greatest asset I possess.” The Edelman Trust Barometer underlined this, revealing that corporations with an employee-first attitude experienced a 6% increase in public trust. Schwab wasn’t just spouting empty rhetoric. Companies gain tangible benefits when they prioritize their employees. Schwab’s brokerage firm didn’t soar just because of sound financial strategies but because it put the emotional and professional well-being of its staff first. It’s a winning formula: a happy, encouraged, and valued employee is a productive employee.

When Boeing Lost Its Way

The tale of Boeing is a sobering lesson for those who forget that their employees are their greatest asset—and their corporate soul. A scathing report from The Seattle Times highlighted the steep price Boeing paid for sidelining its engineers in favor of MBA executives, which coincided with a series of disastrous incidents, including fatal crashes. This seismic shift from an engineering-driven ethos to a profit-first model is tantamount to corporate soul-selling. The resulting safety compromises, scandals, and a plummeting stock price are hard to ignore.

Google’s Flexible Morality

Google’s transformation from “Don’t Be Evil” to “Do The Right Thing” was far more than a simple rebranding. According to a 2019 Pew Research study, Google’s favorability dropped from 83% in 2015 to 56% in 2019. This wasn’t just about public relations; it signaled a shift in Google’s soul. It reflected changing priorities and, by extension, an altered workforce. New hires were no longer the idealistic techies who founded Google but professionals swayed more by profit than principles. In such a transitional phase, even a behemoth like Google can lose its soul—its very essence that was once employee-driven.

Just Doing It For The Job? That’s A Recipe For Disaster

Here’s the ugly truth: not everyone who works for a company is part of its soul. There are those who punch in, do the bare minimum, and can’t wait to clock out. A recent Gallup poll found that disengaged employees cost the U.S. between $450 and $550 billion annually in lost productivity. Companies that willingly or unwittingly onboard such individuals are setting themselves up for failure. Without a passionate, dedicated workforce, you’re just erecting a hollow edifice that’s doomed to collapse.

People: The DNA of Corporate Soul

“In corporations, people are not just the muscle but the very soul that either animates or dooms the enterprise.” This sentiment encapsulates our main argument. Gallup’s comprehensive analysis discovered that organizations with highly engaged employees are 21% more profitable. In the end, people are not just human resources; they are the very DNA of a corporate soul. They are the ambassadors of a brand, the face of a corporation, and the spirit that either animates or dooms an enterprise.

Dennis Ivanov

A Talent Acquisition Architect and an advisor to Executive Leadership on Talent Acquisition strategies. From start-ups to global organizations, Dennis excels in designing impactful solutions that optimize talent acquisition and HR processes. With a competitive spirit and strong communication skills, he fosters continuous improvement and champions diversity and inclusion.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button