This Viral LinkedIn Post from CEO Bernie Reifkind Explains How to Be a Good Boss
The story offers an important lesson on the benefits of being kind to your employees.
Nowadays, more and more Americans aren't using all of the vacation time they earn and they're staying at the office later and later, which research has shown can wreak havoc on one's physical and mental health. Faced with economic uncertainty, many workers are overwhelmed with anxiety over taking a day off to deal with family issues, for fear of being penalized or fired. Which is perhaps why this LinkedIn post from one kind CEO on how to be a good boss is going viral.
In his post, Bernie Reifkind, the CEO of the Los Angeles-based executive search firm Premier, described an instance in which he heard one of his employees sobbing at her desk one morning. He asked her what was wrong, and she replied that she had been up all night caring for her sick child. When he asked her why she had come into work given those circumstances, she responded that she had run out of sick days and couldn't afford to take unpaid leave.
So, what did Reifkind do? "I sent her home and promised that she would get paid," he wrote. "In addition, I wrote her a check on the spot for extra money to alleviate her immediate financial worry. She was incredibly grateful. To this day, she is my best employee, not just because of her talent but her loyalty."
Reifkind then encouraged his fellow employers to realize that "most people are carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders," trying to balance their job responsibilities with "the relentlessness of life." He encouraged them to reassure "hard working employees that their jobs are secure, whenever possible."
The post quickly went viral with more than 73,000 likes and thousands of comments from people who said they wished they had a great boss like him. "I just want employers to value their employees," Reifkind told Best Life of his message. "Just be kind to people."
Reifkind, who has been running his own company for more than two decades now, was surprised by the amount of attention his post received, as well as the applause over behavior that he considers to be common courtesy.
"Kindness is a strength, not a weakness. You can diffuse practically any situation just by being compassionate and by understanding that the other person is going through whatever they are going through," he said.
Besides, he believes that kindness has practical value in encouraging what seems to be a lost art: company loyalty. "If you're loyal to someone, they'll offer it back," he said. "When I hire someone, I always ask them what their dreams and goals are, and tell them that if they stick with me, I can help get them there."
Reifkind said he believes that being a good boss isn't all that different from being a good parent, which means that while rules and boundaries are important, so is recognition and appreciation. "I have a rule that I started a long time ago, which is to say, 'Thanks for coming in today' when my employees leave for the day," he said. "Sometimes, employers will ask me what they can do about their turnover rate, and I say, 'Do you ever thank people for coming into work? Because they don't have to.'"
According to Reifkind, these small gestures can help employers with "the most important part of [their] business—human capital." "This is a free country," he said. "People can pick up and leave whenever they want. If you have an employee that you value, treat that person well. Because if everybody walks, you don't have a business." And for more on what it means to be a great boss, check out This Is How the Definition of a Good Boss Has Changed.