What Moral Obligations Do CEOs Have To Their Employees?

Thank you again, ideal employee, on everything you continue doing. We could not achieve what we want without you.

I asked you to be loyal, be a positive force, do your best always, recruit your friends, have the company’s best interest always in mind, own up to your mistakes, don’t wait to tell us about your mistakes, go the extra mile, provide help when asked, not to be afraid to ask for help, and to have fun.

You did all of this and more.

Thank you.

Now it’s my turn, ideal employee, to return the favor. I pledge to:

A. Be fair. All you want is a fair shake. I know it's annoying, to say the least, when someone gets preferrential treatment. I get that.

It's unfair, and I will do everything I can to prevent this from happening. That being said, we both know this will happen.

Not because someone is trying to hurt you, but maybe it is due to different perspectives or even different conditions. After all, no two people are alike, so it's not possible (or desirable) to always treat everyone exactly the same way.

That having been said, I absolutely promise you to always be fair and to only treat people differently insofar as it's necessary and, er, fair. And, I will…

B. Be transparent. You have a right to know what’s going on in the company. And not just the good stuff.

You have a right to know when things are not going well too. After all, you and your family are dependent on the company for your livelihood.

For us, it just makes good business sense to tell you everything. (Okay, almost everything – there are some things that, for lots of reasons, have to remain confidential.)

You are the best of the best because you are working with us. We want you to stay and help solve whatever problems we have.

Provide a healthy workplace. Too many workplaces suffer from cancer. Usually that cancer starts at the top. A bad work environment steeped in fear doesn’t allow you to thrive. And…

The company doesn’t thrive if you don’t thrive.

We want the workplace to be an enjoyable place to be. This doesn’t mean we don’t have high expectations for you. We do…and we know you have high expectations for the company too.

We know you will be more productive if you are happy and enjoy coming to work.

Not allow mediocrity into the organization. Our standards are really high. Like I said before, you are the best of the best. That’s why we enjoy working with you.

However, someone who isn’t the best of the best joins the company every once in a while. It happens. And…

There’s nothing worse than working with people that aren’t carrying their weight.

It’s demoralizing, to say the least.

It’s in everyone’s best interest to give these unproductive employees a healthy severance. You can continue thriving, and the unproductive employees can find another company that is a better fit.

Give you the freedom to be creative. You are the best of the best. You have ideas how the company can improve. You have ideas for new products. You have ideas for new systems.

That’s great. That’s how we continue growing and winning.

We need to give you the ability to be heard. And you will be heard. And…

C. Pay you a fair wage. There is a market for every role in the company. It’s basic supply and demand. We need to be competitive with our competitors to retain you. Otherwise, you are going to move on. We know you don’t want to, but you have your family, not to mention your career, to think of.

We get that. We don’t want you looking for a new job. It’s costly to replace people.

We also pledge to rectify any salary inequities that occur. It’s in our best interest. And, we will…

D. Promote from within whenever possible. You like working with us, and we like working with you. You're ambitious, and you want to continue growing.

There’s nothing more gratifying than being able to promote you. It’s good business to promote from within.

You understand our culture. You are a know commodity, so there is minimal risk. Keep up the great work. Finally we will pledge..

E. Not to tolerate jerks. Yes, we know about the really smart person you are working with. He’s brilliant, but he’s causing great harm to the company despite all his skills.

It’s oh so tempting to just ignore his dark side. After all, look at his contributions!

We wont ignore his dark side. Any positive contribution is outweighted by the destruction he wreaks. (For more, read: How To Keep From Hiring Superstars That Kill Your Company) We know that, and we'll address it.

For more on the importance of company culture, read: Why Your Startup Culture Is The Key To Your Company's Success

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