Employees work for that regular paycheck they receive weekly, biweekly, or on some other pre-determined schedule. They earn it, they deserve it, but clearly some do not understand how it ends up in their hands (or bank). Yes, the check has the company’s name on it, and in small companies like Magnus, I usually hand it to them, so they know I, on behalf of my company, am paying them. But, how can I pay anyone? I can only pay Magnus’ employees when we get paid by our clients. That is, the business bank account is really a pass through. I pass through the money I receive from our clients to our employees, among others (with, hopefully some left over for my spouse and me, the owners). Thus, for our jury consulting business, that paycheck is really coming from an insurance company, a corporate litigant, or a perhaps a personal injury plaintiff’s attorney. It is not really coming from me or our company. Why do I explore this concept? It is because, over the many years we’ve been in business, some employees have not clearly understood that, not only do they have to please us as the business owners, but they must please, or better, impress the clients who have hired us. In effect, they, like all of us in our company, work for these clients. Making the client’s time with us at a mock trial or focus group a positive experience is good for business. It is good for their jobs; in fact, it is Job 1. Some clients are more difficult than others and some employees have griped about helping them. My partner and I have had to remind the employees that, without our clients, there would be no paycheck or even a job. Employees for whom this concept “clicks” ultimately are much more successful than those who can’t see this big picture.
I have been working for a living since the age of 15. I learned, early in life, that money does not grow on trees and that, at least in my case, it results from hard work. Unlike some of Magnus’ employees, when I worked for other people prior to co-owning my own business, I realized the origin of my paychecks. When I worked in retail stores, for example, it was obvious that my paycheck was made possible only from the many customers who bought merchandise in the stores where I worked. When I worked in academia, I realized that my paycheck came from taxpayers who provided the funding for government grants from which I was paid. When I worked at a hospital, part of my job was to survey all patients upon their discharge, such that it was top of mind that my job, and those of the hundreds of other hospital employees, depended on keeping the patients satisfied with the services they were provided. And, in the trial consulting business, 100% of the revenue that is earned, including the money required to pay employees, is derived from the attorneys, insurance companies, and corporations that retain us to help them with their lawsuits. Needless to say, employees who have an entitlement mentality usually have a short tenure at Magnus. Their philosophy pertaining to paychecks (not to mention bonuses) does not match mine, in which every dollar earned results from a collective effort to, in the words of Paul Simon, “Keep the Customer Satisfied.”