Leaked Applebee’s Email Reveals How Some Managers View Employees

Several years back, I had a comment on one of my articles that I will never forget. 

The reader said, “Being an employee of several different companies, I can honestly say that I’ve felt like nothing more than a line item on a spreadsheet somewhere that an accountant is desperately trying to eliminate.” 

I’ve thought about those words a lot over the years, and I wish they weren’t true. 

Sadly, in more than thirty years in leadership, I have seen countless managers who see employees this way – a cost that needs to be eliminated. 

In the past week, one of those managers made headlines. 

You might have seen the news. An email from Wayne Pankratz, executive director of operations for Applebee’s restaurant, was leaked onto Reddit. 

In the email, Pankratz encourages franchise managers to use the current economic challenges of inflation and high gas costs as an opportunity to lower overall employee wages. 

He argues that, as prices rise and government stimulus money wanes, people relying on unemployment funds will look for work. He says this will create an advantageous labor market for the restaurant chain allowing it to hire employees at a lower cost. 

He sees the current economic crisis as an opportunity to reduce Applebee’s personnel expenses and increase profits. 

Pankratz has the same view as many short-sighted managers – they see employees as a cost and not an asset. 

By seeing people only as a costly expense, these managers think the quickest way to make more profit is by reducing people or salaries. 

They look at employees as an expense or a problem that must be reduced or eliminated. 

Great leaders see things differently. They consider employees as an asset

In accounting terms, assets are company resources that have future economic value. 

Instead of seeing employees as a problem, great leaders see them as a valuable resource. They know that people can grow sales, satisfy customers, improve processes, and innovate products. They can also do countless other things that contribute to the top and bottom lines. 

As a CEO, I see daily examples of this in my business. 

If you think of employees as an asset, as I do, you treat them differently. You understand the importance of keeping them happy and operating at peak performance. You recognize the importance of leadership. 

You realize your team will be at their best when they are loved, appreciated, respected, engaged, and acknowledged. 

It seems simple but it’s not often practiced. 

Where do you stand? Do you see employees as an expense, like Pankratz, or an asset? 

If you see employees as an asset, you know the importance of leading your team properly. 

Image credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Applebee%27s_night_view.jpg

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Here at Lead Read Today, we endeavor to take an objective (rational, scientific) approach to analyzing leaders and leadership. All opinion pieces will be reviewed for appropriateness, and the opinions shared are solely of the author and not representative of The Ohio State University or any of its affiliates.