Entitlements Do Not Exist

Next up in our look at the PFSbrands Core Values is one Core Value I stress the most – Entitlements Do Not Exist. In today’s society, due in large part to our government, there are many people that feel entitled to things they haven’t worked for nor earned. In business, a couple examples may include someone feeling entitled to a higher income or a particular promotion or even a particular job… Why? What have these individuals done to truly earn them? In a well-run company, and even in a well-run society, I believe people should be rewarded only for what they work for and what they earn. You’ll find out more below.

Before I get too in-depth, let’s review our entire set of Core Values:

PFSbrands Core Values 

  1. Have fun
  2. Always treat others as you want to be treated
  3. Practice ‘ownership thinking’
  4. Positive ATTITUDE always
  5. I – There’s no I in TEAM
  6. No complaining
  7. Entitlements do not exist
  8. Structure & balance – God, family, work, and everything else
  9. Straight talk and Simple is better
  10. Remember that the customer is why we are here
  11. U never get a 2nd chance to make a 1st impression
  12. Learn to communicate openly through all channels
  13. Everyone has the opportunity to excel

If you follow the first letters down, you will notice that our Core Values spell out HAPPINESS RULE.  As we all live and work by these Core Values I guarantee you that our work will be more fun and more rewarding.  I’ve already broken down Core Values 1 through 6 and below you will see Core Value number seven.

1. Have Fun

2. Always Treat Others as You Want to be Treated

3. Practice Ownership Thinking

4. Positive Attitude Always

5. I – There’s No I In Team

6. No Complaining

7. Entitlements Do Not Exist

This goes along with our ownership thinking mentality that has been mentioned in previous articles.  Remember that in order to take care of employees, a company must be profitable and must be generating cash.  In order to ensure long-term sustainability and profits, a company cannot create a culture of entitlement.  None of us are entitled to anything, including myself.  Salaries and benefits are based on market conditions, what companies can afford to pay, and what individuals are willing to do in order to earn their paycheck.  Salaries and benefits are not based on what people feel that they are entitled to.

This is ‘straight talk’ (coming up in a future article) for emphasizing that salaries are based on supply and demand.  The marketplace sets the benchmarks for salaries in every given profession or position.  Raises are not guaranteed every year, salaries are not reflective of time served with the company, and nothing is guaranteed.  Those companies that have created (or been forced to create) systems of entitlement will eventually fail or they will move overseas.  Companies that have created a culture of entitlement may survive through a couple generations if they are growing companies.  However, there is NO WAY a company can survive long term if they continue to tolerate a culture of entitlement.  They are doomed for failure.

I will likely offend a few people with these forthcoming paragraphs, but keep reading until the end of the article.  Put yourself in an ownership position and accept the ‘straight talk’ so you can at least digest my opinion.

Sick days and bereavement are entitlement programs.  Let’s address the sick days first since it is something I am adamant about not implementing at PFSbrands.  In fact, many companies have eliminated sick days.  I realize people are going to get sick and I would prefer that you don’t come to work when you are sick.  However, why should you be paid when you don’t work?  Why should someone that is sick for 5 days get paid for those 5 days when their teammate didn’t miss a day, had to work those 5 days, and got paid the same wage?  Not only that, but while you were out sick, your teammate had to pick up the slack and work twice as hard.  Is that fair to your teammate?

At PFSbrands we offer extra ‘paid time off (PTO)’ to accommodate for not offering sick days.  This allows healthy individuals the opportunity to use these days for vacation or any other personal reasons.  If you are sick, it allows you to use the days and still be paid.  However, your teammates are getting the same amount of days to use at their discretion.  As a leadership team, and as a group of employee-owners with an ownership thinking mindset, we feel this is a fair approach.

Is bereavement an entitlement?  Sure it is.  It is something that was originally established as a company benefit that has now come to be expected and employers get to pay employees for extra time off without productivity.  Bear with me thru this because I do have a sensitive and caring side.  However, is it fair that those with step fathers & step mothers, larger families, step children, etc. get more paid time off than their teammates?  Even though they are off work dealing with unpleasant activities, they are still not being productive to an employer and placing a burden on their teammates.

It’s not your teammate’s fault that you have a larger family and it certainly is not your employer’s fault.  Once again, guess who picks up the slack when you need to be gone?  That’s right, your teammates.  I say all of this only to make a very strong point on entitlements and the overwhelming expectation that is ingrained in our culture that makes people believe they deserve things.  With all of that being said, my personal belief in the importance of family outweighs my feeling on not offering this benefit (not entitlement) to all PFSbrands employees.  PFSbrands does have a bereavement policy and I am glad to be able to offer it.  Death is a very difficult time especially when it relates to immediate family members.

Is jury duty an entitlement?  I bet you know my answer.  YES, it is a mandated entitlement that requires employers to allow employees time off work.  I have no problem with allowing employees time from work to serve this great country.  However, as an employer, it is not my responsibility to pay employees for their time off work so that they can serve their country.  As a United States citizen it is your duty to serve your country and pay for it accordingly.  It’s a small price to pay to live in this awesome country.

I believe in keeping salaries at a competitive level, making sure we do not create a long-term overhead burden for the company, ensuring company stability, and rewarding everyone for company profitability?  There’s that ‘profitability’ word again.  Why does that keep popping up?  Did I mention that none of this stuff matters if we aren’t profitable?

Many people have a misperception about owners and the amount of money they ‘make’ or the amount of money they ‘take home’. Entitlement cultures exist in large part because many people simply do not understand the basics of business, taxes, the income statement, the balance sheet, and the cash flow statement.  Part of our work in developing all of our PFSbrands Core Values involves a lot of educational sessions that make everyone more aware of the challenges businesses face and how difficult it is to be profitable.  Further, this financial literacy education provides everyone an opportunity to see how they can impact the company’s profitability and positively affect their opportunity for additional income.

IMPORTANT NOTE ON SALARIES: Remember those ‘A’ players with positive attitudes from one of my previous core values articles?  They generally earn higher salaries because they are easy to manage and bosses enjoy being around them.

Wrap-Up

At PFSbrands we have a high accountability, results-driven culture but we also understand life happens. We also understand how to run a profitable business and we understand that an entitlement mentality cannot exist in a company that wants to survive 100 plus years. That’s why “Entitlements Do Not Exist” lies at the heart of our Core Values. If you work hard and if you produce results, you will be successful in your career and in life!

In our next Core Values installment we will discuss work-life balance and straight talk!

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