Episode 130.5 – Green Apple Slice


Why Small Businesses Have the Happiest Employees


The Green Apple Podcast does weekly “Green Apple Slices”, where John Garrett and Rachel Fisch discuss a recent business article related to the Green Apple Message. These shorter segments are released each Monday, so don’t miss an episode by subscribing on iTunes or an Android app.

This week, John and Rachel discuss a The Week article, “Why Small Businesses Have the Happiest Employees” by Laura Oliver.


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    Good morning. It’s John Garrett coming to you with another episode of Green Apple Slices where every Monday, I bring in Rachel Fisch. We talk about an article that we find online about engagement or culture or things like that. I’m going to bring her in. Hopefully, she answers. Fingers crossed. The Accountants Group Leader for Canada, for Sage, for the world, for the universe, Rachel Fisch.

    Rachel: Hey, John. How are you?

    John: Everything’s good. Found this article on a blog called the theweek.com which I thought was interesting. The article talks about Why Small Businesses Have the Happiest Employees. It was written by Laura Oliver. I thought it was great.

    Rachel: It was good. Again, I think we’ve kind of talked about the flexibility and agility of small businesses and how they’re able to move. We talk about that in the accounting world talking about digital transformation and adopting new technologies and stuff like that but the ability to do those things, the characteristics of the small business also benefit happy employees.

    John: Right. It comes down to — I guess Gallup did a research poll and found that not very many people are engaged at work. We’ve gone over that over and over again. Everyone quotes those stats. But when it comes to small businesses, businesses with 25 employees or less, actually 75% of those workers said they’re very or extremely satisfied in their role which is awesome.

    Rachel: Yeah. That’s awesome.

    John: I mean that’s on fire. I mean really. What’s interesting is they talk about in the article is how they don’t have these large HR teams that are creating these gimmicks and little rewards and trinkets and all these stuff like the big companies do. It’s just a matter of knowing your staff intimately and just understanding their day-to-day needs and being flexible enough to make that happen.

    Rachel: Yeah, knowing who they are, what they love, and being able to kind of do that. There’s a few kind of reasons looking at you know, we talked about the characteristics of the company smaller, more agile, things like that, that is also going to maybe not in prorated way but it’s going to cost you — you’ve got fewer employees so it’s going to cost a small business less in total to be able to deliver some of these benefits, right?

    If you start taking 13,000-employee company like Sage is and say okay, everybody, free lunches every day. That’s a lot of money but when you talk about a small business, those not very difficult efforts just aren’t terribly costly.

    John: I agree. I agree totally. Another example they had here was some of the employees that work maybe for a restaurant or places like that where a sporting event is happening and how do you expect the staff not to watch the game with the people that are there? You know, clientele and people aren’t robots. These are humans and they’re affected by day-to-day things in a good and a bad way. It’s just understanding that and recognizing that and getting to know your people. Then you’re able to really serve them better and then in return, it all comes back.

    Rachel: Right, because I think that letting your employees do that also gives your customers a really great experience there as well. They’re going to keep coming back. Although you can say how selfless it is to kind of give up some of these things, ultimately, I do think that increased connection with your customers is actually going to benefit you anyway.

    John: Right, absolutely. Yeah. It reminds me a couple of weeks ago, I interviewed Andrew Logan on the Green Apple Podcast. I believe his quote was if you take care of your people, they will come back to you in spades. Just a little bit of investment in your people, it will come back tenfold. People are always worried about the expense, or looking at the bottom line and it’s very shortsighted to see that. I think that in larger companies, this could be done in a department level or a small group level. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a corporate-wide thing but yeah, definitely in a small group level, you could make it happen.

    Rachel: I think it’s also sometimes more difficult to maintain as the company gets larger. I think that’s totally key what you were just saying about how just because it’s a company-wide thing, it doesn’t necessarily have to stay company-wide but it would be great if you could at least kind of segment off smaller groups of people but to connect in different ways.

    John: Most definitely. Actually, I’m learning more in reading the book by Patty McCord about Netflix. As they were growing, they actually stripped away all of their rules and regulations and basically, it was you’re an adult, we hired you, we trust you so don’t be stupid. I mean that’s pretty much it.

    But it’s if you cross the line, you’ll know and then we’ll tell you but until then, don’t go around asking for permission for everything. Just go do it. If it makes sense, make it happen. Instead, we’re all sitting around waiting for someone to sign off on something and someone above that to sign off on it and it’s just great to be able to just yeah, make things happen, make your people happy and everything good will happen. Definitely within reason.

    Rachel: For sure. Let’s not go crazy.

    John: Yeah. Seriously. But that being said, I hope you have a good week. Everyone, don’t forget to hit subscribe. If you want, you can leave a review on iTunes or whatever Android app you’re listening on. Follow us on Twitter @GreenApplePod or @RecoveringCPA and Rachel is @FischBooks.

    All right. I hope everyone’s doing well. We’ll see you again next week, Rachel.

    Rachel: Yup. Talk to you later, John.

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