Do Employees Want Love or Tough Love?

Love… A four-letter word that can mean may different things, and usually has no space in the professional arena. But how does it fit with employees in the business world? How can it be used to strengthen the bond between employees and employers? Can we smother our employees with too much love? Can we alienate them with too little?

Most employees want to be noticed by their employers. Sometimes employees are spending more time with their work families than their own loved ones. By sacrificing personal time, I believe employees need recognition, understanding and compassion. So, love is important in a business relationship because employees are willing to sacrifice love for their employer.

Based on information from, I found a few love synonyms that could and should describe the employee/employer relationship:

  • Appreciation
  • Respect
  • Enjoyment
  • Involvement

When a business focuses on its employees first and its business second, it is aligning itself to its greatest strength. By continually reinforcing this relationship, a business will help improve employee well being levels, which will only propel its cause and focus.

So, love and business can go hand in hand; however, there must be boundaries as there are in all relationships. By heavily leveraging employees, businesses are only as strong as their weakest team member.

Here enters tough love. Leaders must be willing to set clear expectations and hold people accountable. Employees want “involvement” from their managers not just “appreciation” or someone that will agree with them on all issues. They want other employees to be held to the same expectations and to be treated with fairness and “respect.”

I think employees want both equally. They need a caring company that takes a genuine interest in their well being while also desiring a company that has clear expectations and goals, and will follow through on set expectations. Employees look to employers to set the foundation and culture of an organization.

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I hope to begin my employee focused blog with the purpose of raising awareness of the importance of employees and how they directly relate to the success of a business. Moving forward, I’ll be looking into multiple avenues to cultivate employee well being from all aspects of business.  I hope to not only spread my knowledge on employee engagement ideas, but also absorb information from others in the field to develop myself.

I look forward to collaborating on ideas to build successful teams, to increase employee well being and engagement, and, just possibly, to spread the love.

Which one, love or tough love, do you think is more important for employees? Which is more important for a business? Let me know by leaving a comment.


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