Fred Chow, our head of operations at Rebound, is also known for being a leader of storytelling. Many lunch breaks have been filled with narratives of his adventures and business successes. Stories from the second category in particular foreshadowed our all-company celebration last week.
Mr Fred had argued, using past experience as evidence, that company success requires more than lots of employees working hard. They will work hard, of course, with the presence of another factor, but the point is that employees are people, not machines.
The other factor that leads to greater success, Mr Fred tells us, is treating company members like family. This relational focus is both vertical and horizontal; managers and managed need to genuinely care about one another, and the same is true across each strata.
In previous management positions, Mr Fred invested a surprising amount of time to planning events where employees could talk to one another outside of the workplace, bring their families, and have fun. His coworkers criticized him for wasting money and time, but soon the results spoke for themselves.
Once his employees started treating one another like family, a series of positives began to appear. Old workplace tensions started to diminish as people got to know each other better. Loyalty to the company grew, resulting in less turnover. Feeling more valued, employees enjoyed coming to work and were more productive.
Treating coworkers like family can lead to these results, but the output itself is not the goal. The goal, our goal, is to better know and value one another.
Last week, we worked towards this goal by setting aside time to celebrate the work of the last year, a promotion, and a birthday, all in one cookout. As with Mr Fred’s previous events that he’s told us about, the whole experience was truly enjoyable. We set up at the edge of our warehouse, where a mild breeze from the open walls dissipated the Houston warmth. People filled the space, many of them family members of an employee. Music played and conversation flowed from topics of work to those of life. There were songs, business cards presented, and many of the Rebound leaders took a moment to share their stories.
There is something about storytelling that brings people together, and so many thanks goes to Mr Fred for promoting this kind of event, of which many are sure to follow.