The edge great companies have is that they provide, in a work setting, some of the inclusion needs of colleagues. A company or organisation will never replace the family unit, but the friendships and commitment formed during the working day go a long way towards filling the gap.
Jason describes Wragge & Co. as being like his family.
I am chuffed to say I work here. It's a bit like being a sibling - even when I was cross with my brother, I would never let anyone else talk badly of him. It is the same with Wragge - outsiders have me to deal with if they criticise us.
And why does he feel like that? Because Wragge ‘goes the extra mile' for him and he is ‘at one' with the principles.
There are countless stories of people who have hit difficult times and been supported by the company. Of unexpected deaths after which people have been given as much time off as they needed, regardless of the designated allowance. Of Timpsons, who lend money to colleagues in debt, rather than risk them getting involved with loan sharks. Of the young Honda employee who was let down by the wedding chauffeur at the last minute and was given the president's limo for as long as he needed it. When the caring side of a culture is strong, the company will step into the breach.
An employee at Kent Messenger Group discovered she had cancer. She told her boss, who then communicated it to the board.
At the end of their meeting they all came in to see me one by one, closed the door and sat down to give me a bit of encouragement. I just thought,‘This is a lovely place. People really care about each other.' I see this a lot around the company.
But concern does not always lead to a great workplace. It can be paternalistic and therefore limiting. Parents generally care, but there is a world of difference between those who care but believe their way to be the only right way, and those who support us in doing things in our own style. Paternalistic organisations will certainly show care and step up to the plate when needed, but they can also be demanding in a way that is deeply limiting to human potential. When gratitude is required or guilt played upon, the relationship is unhealthy and unequal. People stay because they feel they should or because they have lost self-esteem to such a point that they do not believe they could go elsewhere. When this happens, you have a caring company - you do not have a great company.
Remember the unity statement of Flight Centre: we are all going forward together. That means we do what is right for the one in need, not what is right for the giver. Great companies are like family - but in a grown-up way. People are responsible for themselves within the context of the whole and they are expected to do what is right for themselves, other colleagues and the organisation.