Look What Just Happened To This Group Of Employees

January 23, 2020

Employees are the bridge between customers and a business. The knowledge, skills, and attitudes employees collectively bring to a business will be a deciding factor in the level of customer satisfaction. Whether a customer repeats the buying experience will largely depend on employee performances. A company’s ability to thrive, succeed, and create its own competitive edge rests with the people it hires, as well as, the quality and uniqueness of its products and services.

Delta Air Lines Surprises Employees

Delta Air Lines had very good year in 2019 and rather than just thanking employees by simply saying, “Thanks for doing a great job and helping Delta make its profit,” it showed its appreciation to employees in another way. Delta announced that it would distribute $1.6 billion in profit-sharing bonuses to employees, which means that every eligible employee will receive a check next month for the equivalent of 16.6% of their annual salary. This equates to an additional two months’ pay and is the sixth year in a row that Delta has paid out more than $1 billion to employees in a profit payout.

Why is Delta doing this? Delta’s CEO, Ed Bastian, is quoted as saying, “Delta would be nothing without our 90,000 people. They deserve all the credit.” Additionally, he has commented that Delta is one of the most awarded airlines because of its employees, and the company wants to make sure that the employees know that.

Importance of Employees

Certainly, distributing profit-sharing bonuses is one way to motivate and recognize employee performance but, obviously, not the only way. For a majority of small businesses and SMEs, this might not even be practical or prudent. The point, however, to be learned from Delta’s payout is that employees are a company's greatest assets.

While the importance of employees should always rate high on the list of a company’s valuable resources, this importance is often neglected during both good and bad economic cycles. When slowdowns occur, frequently one of the first areas to suffer is human resources – employees, salaries, benefits, and individual concerns. It is precisely during these slumps when businesses should capitalize on the potential of each employee to increase productivity and efficiency. Conversely, when the economy is booming and times are good for a business, employee concerns may take a back seat to generating sales, marketing, and increasing profits.

Create the Right Culture

All businesses regardless of size have a culture that will have either a positive or negative effect on the business. A culture that has open communication, motivates and energizes employees, encourages suggestions, and solves problems together can benefit from reduced turnover and improved operational performance.

Relationships between owners (or mangers) and employees in small businesses and SMEs are usually less formal and more flexible than found in larger companies. At times, this can have a positive effect on the business since a less structured environment encourages more direct interaction between upper management and employees, which makes decision-making and communication more streamlined and efficient. On the other hand, this informality can lead to practices that can have a negative effect on productivity and motivation if not handled properly such as favoritism shown to certain employees. Management must be cognizant of this scenario and build a positive culture that serves to benefit all stakeholders...owners, employees, and customers.

Impact the Future

A business' future growth and success depends on the quality of its employees. When employees are utilized to their full potential, businesses can experience geometric leaps in productivity and profits. Delta Air Lines is one example of what a large company can do on a large scale. On a much smaller scale, small businesses and SMEs can use Delta as an example in understanding the importance of the relationship between employees and business success.

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