A Chicago McDonald’s cashier recently received praise from his boss when the cashier helped a handicapped elderly man with his meal. Instead of seeing the employee as just a cog in a wheel during the busy dinner rush, the boss showed appreciation to a worker who stepped outside his job description to do what was right.
A photo of the worker, Kenny, showing him cutting up the disabled man’s food, was posted on a Facebook page and quickly went viral. Social media has the power to praise a company’s actions or vilify them in a matter of moments. The Facebook post has been shared more than 400,000 times–to the advantage of both the employee who received recognition for his actions, and McDonald’s itself.
On the opposite end of the feel-good spectrum is the fallout when Turning Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli tried to justify a 4,000 percent increase in price for Daraprim, a drug used by some AIDS and cancer patients. The social media outrage was immediate and he was forced to retreat. Companies that become so enamored with profits lose their humanity. They don’t care who they hurt—employee or customer. Eventually, this mindset hurts their bottom line.
According to the photographer who posted the McDonald’s photo, the man had asked Kenny, who was working the cash register, for help during a busy time of the day. Kenny left his post, washed his hands, put on gloves and went about helping the man. A boss, only looking at sales numbers, would have berated him for leaving his station. Kenny’s boss saw the bigger picture.
Companies that recognize the value of their employees have a leg up on their competition. A corporate culture that only has an eye on the bottom line will not be as successful as those companies that take into account the human factor in business. Studies show repeatedly that companies with a culture of praise and sincere appreciation perform better than those that don’t.