How Should Christian CEOs Treat their Employees?

While freely admitting that the reasoning in this essay at Christianity Today is sloppy, and the basis of the argument is not well grounded—non-sequiturs and misapplication aboundeth—I do think the overall concept is more than worthy of discussion. It is discussing the CEO who is paying all employees $70,000 a year and is reducing his own salary to that amount.

CEOs have come to see their often grossly over-sized compensation as almost a “divine right”—no matter the impact on the overall economy, and their own employees. The more appropriate argument would be based in Jesus’ command to love our neighbor in the same way that we already love ourselves.

Somehow it seems very hard to believe we’re following that command when we’re taking home $10 million a year (or much more!) while our frontline employees are struggling just to pay their bills every week. I have seen through the experiences of my own children how utterly corrupt many companies have become, with even low-level management abusing minimum-wage workers to pad their personal compensation.

The problem is rooted in losing sight of the purpose for our lives. Philosophical Darwinism promotes and conveniently justifies “survival of the fittest” where the dominant abuse their power to take all they can (and give nothin’ back!). God demonstrated a very different ethic when Jesus said:

“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Several years ago I worked for a company which took a significant hit to its revenues, and it appeared many people would have to be let go. Instead, the president called us together and said he was foregoing his own salary in order to keep everyone on the team in place. He said he knew the only reason he was successful was because of those of us who worked for him.

Do you think that had an impact on employee morale, and our passion to work just a bit harder to get through that “tight passage”? You better believe it did!!

CEOs need to be converted to God so that they stop asking “How much can I make?” and change that to “How can I better serve those who work for us?”

What do you think?