It's a good thing for a company to have a soul. But where does it get one? My experience has been: from the senior management, and not from a girl-scout hype machine in the human resources office. When the senior management demands that employees be treated fairly and compassionately, that the product do what it is supposed to, and when the senior management itself is seen to act accordingly, then there's a "soul" to be talked about. The people who work for the senior management toe the line, and so on down the line. Such companies are good to work for, and I've had that luck a few times. I've also worked for companies run by truly nasty pieces of work, men whose main concern was the dollar, and in particular, their own dollar. Such companies are hell-holes, and one is well shot of them. I've spent a certain amount of time, as well, in academia and also in government, and the situation there has been, in my experience, deplorable. No one is really responsible for anything; everyone has "rights"; and no one is accountable for anything. Result: government service is rife with parasites on the US taxpayers. Not all of our civil servants, by any means. The ones who actually put in a day's work, however, are to be pitied: they struggle against the general malaise of working for non-entities who in turn work for political appointees. Show me one office building full of civil servants with anything like the esprit de corps that MIPS must have, and I will work an extra day this week. Ditto for universities, which are often havens for prima donna misfits or outright crazies elevated to the status of "expert" or more accurately, "demi-god". No, give me a privately held company, or a company which has aggressively honest and concerned management, and I'll show you a place which is worth working for. Capitalism produces both sorts of places: I know which one I'd choose.
This goodwill to employees is not something companies flout and most are quite reasonable when they are dealing with a crisis but nobody goes around harping about a soul. Small companies can afford to have that personal rapport with each of it's employees but hard to impossible for big ones but that doesn't mean they are soulless. Lucky that his bets paid off else we wouldn't have heard him speak about soul in wall street.
This is very important lesson for company management at all level. I always requested my VP and owner to appreciate engineer's achievement at the end of each month. It does not involved money. Those wondeful words or may be tickets to NBA or NHL did magic to engineers in my team and we were able achieve new goals far above managements expectation.
Very good point to remember.
Thanks, Rene. You know, we do Salary Survey every year at EE Times. Much of the frustration we hear from our engineering audience is this: companies don't realize the value of the great "people" (engineering) assets they have.
I actually found it very refreshing when Sandeep talked about his initiative to invite the company's key customer every month to talk to the employees of the whole company. The knowledge of meeting with key customers shouldn't stop at the management/marketing level. Nothing satisfies engineers more than hearing how their technology is actually used!
Thank you for the fair and refreshing article, I find it very encouraging to see a CEO of a small company express with courage his confidence in the intangible resource of his company workforce. A paycheck alone does not foster loyalty from employees, I just wish there were more boards and top management in high tech companies to pay closer attention to the their assets value.
Yes Sanjib. It is best to retain work force even during difficult times and this pays off later. This happens because of retaining the good workforce but plus the blessings from them or other wise the good feelings the work force will get about the management and the company etc brings them up together. That is the SOUL
Good to see that Sandeep managed not to have reduced his work force during the difficult time. So the "Company with a soul" philosophy might be working well for him and the employees. I too believe, having a "soul" in a company, it's not about inviting families to the Nasdaq, but to allow enough freedom to the employees to have a good work-life balance.
Good for MIPS CEO and its 150 employees. I hope that this company enjoys their moment in the spotlight. In the business world, these highlights don’t come often. But to be a powerhouse company, MIPS has a long way to go. The great thing about this article is that it sends out a message of hope to small business and future business students around the world…and you can’t go wrong with that. Very good article.
I once worked for a company that had a founder who talked like that. He was very concerned about the corporate culture he was creating and that the employees felt a shared fate with the company. At one point he hired a CTO who once told me that in order to mature the company had to learn to be capable of doing evil. Maybe he was right, but all I know is that I enjoyed working there much more in the early years than the later ones. In my opinion this is something that a CEO should be thinking about just as much as the balance sheet and more than the stock price.