In the early 2000s, we saw the emergence of a different kind of a healthy workplace. Suddenly, big tech companies such as Google and Facebook had foosball tables and Nespresso machines, stocked fridges and free snacks throughout the office. Plenty of businesses still practice this specific business model to captivate and maintain its employees, but it goes much deeper than that.
Since I started my first business, I haven’t forgotten about my first job. Because that, above all else, it has led me to develop our employee-first mission at Solve Clinics. An employee-first mission is more than just free snacks and an exciting workplace, it’s a valuable investment and a relationship-based business model that ultimately leads to the success for employees, employers and customers.
Whether you’re an entrepreneur, business owner or just managing your own products, maintaining profit is key. Unlike the popular way of conducting business, I believe that personal and business success should be closely aligned. Over the last few years, I’ve found that most businesses don’t realize the connection between paying its employees well and making money, but like the outdated phrase, ‘happy wife, happy life,’ I live by, ‘happy employees, happy clients.’
Top four ways to engage employees
Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report found that “engaged employees produce better business outcomes than other employees—across industry, company size and nationality and in good economic times and bad.” Meaning, when employees are engaged, businesses triumph.
There are the four pillars I believe lead to a true employee-first engagement model; money matters, take a committed approach; work-life balance; listen more, talk less.
- Money matters: As a business leader, if you compensate your employees at a higher rate than your competitors, then you are way more likely to attract greater and stronger talent, which is critical in the current job market. Furthermore, employees are more likely to contribute and show up to work as their absolute best selves if they are paid fairly for their work, the primary element of your employee-first mission.
- Take a committed approach: Want to know how to make your employees really care about your business’ success? Equity grants. Tie your employee’s success directly to it. Almost all sectors can—and should—offer equity grants for employees. As your business flourishes, so does your employee’s potential pay out, therefore it serves them to serve your customer.
- Work-life balance: In 2025, Millennials will make up 75% of the American workforce. Generational divides have always affected workplace dynamics, and with a younger workforce, their values will continue to upheave the accepted business model. One way of doing so is a change from the “always-on” mindset. Millennials value the benefits that a proper work-life balance can bring. Offering abundant PTO and generous 401k packages, along with health and life insurance, is not just a “nice to have”, it’s a demand. If you want your employees to give their best for you, you need to provide the best for them—and that means providing the best opportunities for them to have a fulfilling life, inside and outside the office.
- Listen more, talk less: I’m not sure when it takes place, I’ve never been able to quite put my finger on it, but we’ve all experienced it: there’s a moment when someone moves up the career ladder that they find themselves talking more than listening. Their voice becomes the loudest in the room. And while I’m not discounting anyone’s business acumen and instincts that put them in a leadership position, being the smartest in the room—or thinking that you are—can leave leaders missing out on valuable insight. Everyone, no matter their level, from assistant to owner, should get a seat at the table. Finding a way to collaborate and truly listen to what your employees are experiencing builds loyalty that you could never buy, which turns into customer loyalty and success.
Customer satisfaction with each interaction is much more likely when we’re all equally invested in the customer’s success. With your employee-first mission, focusing on relationships first and providing a reasonable quality of life will allow business owners to plan for both long-term employee and customer loyalty.
Guest Author: Andrew Kashian, Founder at Solve Clinics
Andrew Kashian is the founder of Solve Clinics, a leading hair transplant and skin restoration clinic located in Chicago. Kashian’s entrepreneurial background and passion to reinvent the hair loss market was the driving force to create a clinic that provides transparent, personalized and high-quality care at an affordable price. With the motto “live confidently,” Solve Clinics has become one of the highest-rated clinics in the U.S. and is growing rapidly.
Kashian found his passion for entrepreneurism after successfully owning and founding Chess at Three & Story Time Chess, winners of “Toy of the Year Award” & “WEBBY Award.” Kashian remains an owner, and the company has since been developed into several additional brands.