On caring in the workplace: “Treat people fairly and with honesty, treating each employee … as a person, trying to understand what motivates them, what’s important to them, what stage of life they’re in, and having empathy and care around that as well.”
– Stephen Moir
- The importance of caring in the workplace
- The idea of simplicity
- Creating a positive impact on the environment
- The hardest part before seeing the end of the tunnel
- Inspiring leaders versus follow-me-over-the-barricades type of leaders
The following article is based on our interview with Stephen Moir, founder and CEO of The Moir Group, a recruitment organisation specialising in senior leaders in finance, which emphasises that beyond technical finance skills, it’s crucial that senior leaders in finance can exert influence across a company.
Passionate about the environment, Stephen and his wife Carolyn founded the ‘Professionals Advocating for Climate Action’ network dedicated to practical actions. Stephen believes that work significantly shapes our lives, and a satisfying job is essential for a good life. (You can check out the full podcast here on The Caring CEO podcast episode #58.)
Caring in the workplace
Stephen believes that caring in the workplace boils down to a handful of key principles. Firstly, he emphasises treating others the way he himself would like to be treated – with fairness and honesty. Additionally, Stephen values seeing each employee as an individual, taking the time to understand their motivations, priorities, and current life circumstances. This enables him to approach each person with empathy and genuine care.
The idea of simplicity and trying to keep things clear
As Stephen has grown older, he places great importance on simplicity and maintaining clarity in various aspects of life. He believes that by embracing simplicity, one is more likely to make sound and consistent decisions, which not only benefits the decision-making process, but also contributes to personal growth and development.
Stephen also believes in the importance of having a variety of motivations and interests that keep you engaged with different communities. He thinks that this engagement fosters curiosity and enjoyment. By actively participating in these activities, individuals often discover their own unique abilities and contributions, which others may sometimes overlook.
Creating a positive impact on the environment
Stephen takes great pride in the fact that, as his company grew to include 500 employees, they were able to implement changes in their daily operations in the workplace that have had a positive impact on the environment. Through the collective efforts of various team members, they have influenced organisational changes, such as committing to net-zero emissions and other environmentally conscious initiatives.
In fact, Stephen is pleased to have been involved in political endeavors that have influenced decision-making at a national level. Overall, the combination of these accomplishments has been truly fulfilling for Stephen.
The hardest part before seeing the end of the tunnel
Stephen has gained valuable insights from experiencing significant challenges and setbacks. He established his business in mid-2007, only to face the global financial crisis just six months later. Despite the unfamiliarity and uncertainty of economic cycles and recessions, Stephen felt a sense of familiarity and confidence in navigating through them. He remained humble but believed in the resilience of their business. In their efforts to overcome these hurdles, Stephen prioritised clear communication with his team, ensuring everyone understood the approach, the challenges they were facing, and the implications. Unfortunately, this also meant making the difficult decision to let go of some employees. However, Stephen made every effort to handle these situations with care and support, even though it was an unavoidable outcome.
Inspiring leaders versus follow-me-over-the-barricades type of leaders
For Stephen, leaders who inspire are those who consistently assemble excellent teams comprised of talented individuals. These leaders prioritise being there for their employees, offering guidance, support, and advice, rather than adopting a “follow me at all costs” approach. These are the kind of individuals that create an environment that people want to be a part of, as they possess a keen understanding of the importance of community and workplace dynamics. Recruiting and developing these types of leaders is critical to building psychological safety and reducing psychosocial risk.
These inspiring leaders create environments that motivate employees in the workplace to excel in their work. Being surrounded by supportive and caring teams in the workplace is highly motivating and encourages personal growth. Effective leaders understand the significance of fostering such cultures and how it directly impacts performance. Stephen strongly believes that by providing people with clear guidelines and accountability, leaders empower them to operate within those boundaries while also granting them the freedom and responsibility to perform. Thus, holding individuals accountable for their performance is a key aspect of running a successful business, and good leaders consistently prioritise this, resulting in excellent outcomes.
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