• Shems Ghali

Should Companies be Surfing the Patagonia Employment Wave?

Dear World,


I’m sure you’ve heard of Patagonia, the outdoor clothing company who has the environment at the heart of their business. I recently came across an article stating that between 2018 and 2019 they had a 4% rate of employee turnover <(Scott Mautz, Inc). They also ask their employees before they go “why did you join?” and “did we fulfil that for you?” focusing on the positives and taking responsibility for them moving on unlike other companies.


It’s the ‘employee experience’ debate. Human is our word at One Minute to Midnight. We have a big focus on people as individuals rather than consumers and shoppers so I eagerly talked to the team about what I’d found out. Here’s a few snippets of facts I love:


They are praised for promoting women into leadership roles and how they support mothers in business. They have previously even paid for nannies to attend business trips to allow mothers and children to be close together. It’s also claimed that they have a 100% retention rate for its working mothers for the last several years, are we surprised?


They hire activists and train them to protest peacefully BUT will pay their employees bail, court time/time off work if they are arrested as well as their spouses. “Because we want them to be who they are” Yvon Chouinard, Founder


They pay for their employees to do two-month internships with environmental organisations.

“We have a policy that when the surf comes up, you drop work and you go surfing,”Yvon Chouinard, Founder


The team were just as intrigued as I was but let’s not be fooled - this isn’t a new concept. Back in the 80’s there was a lot of talk (so I hear) about the Japanese business model of putting employees first which was rewarded with increased productivity and satisfied customers. Now, nearly 40 years later, it feels like the West is finally coming on board but why did it take so long? Could it be bad press, like Amazon received for how they treat their employees and the back lash from their customers (now ex-customers)? Or could it be that in ‘happy and engaged’ companies employee motivation is higher? I’m not sure but it’s got my interest.


Peakon released a study last year on why people quit their jobs. It showed that they left, not because of having too much work, but because they have too much work that was uninspiring. If we, the employees, keep leaving does this mean that we now have the power or as much power as consumers? Seemingly companies have to change or risk being without workers and, in turn as briefly mentioned above, without customers. Maybe this is what’s propelling the change for employee experience and I’m all for it.


Bye for now,

Shems

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