By M. Suyanto
Many entrepreneurs or companies, when they are in a state of recession or in trouble, dismiss their employees, and even a state-owned property that serves a government to provide jobs as the responsibility for implementation of the Constitution, such as Indonesian Aerospace Corporate, prefer dismissing their employees to maintaining them. Such a dismissal is, however, was not done by the famous clothing company Levi Strauss.
Levi Strauss came from Bavaria. He arrived in New York in 1847 and collaborated with his stepbrother in the business of dried goods. In 1853, Strauss went to San Francisco to build his own business. The opportunity came when one of his customers, Jacob Davis, a tailor who came from Nevada, showed an idea of changing his trousers. According to Davis, the trousers which are strong and durable are suitable to wear when he or she is a gold miner or a farmer. In 1873, Strauss and Davis patented the pants called “waist-high overalls” by then. The patented design cost $ 68. The company was getting more and more prosperous, and when Strauss died, it had a wealth of $ 6 million.
The greatest challenge facing the company occurred in 1906 when there was an earthquake followed by a fire that destroyed the company headquarters and two factories. Then, the action that Strauss took was to give credit to his customers so that they could maintain their businesses. The company continued paying its employees, and a temporary office with its showroom was open to give them something to do while a headquarter and a factory were being built. At the time of the great depression, the CEO Walter Haas Sr. went on hiring employees by having them build a new floor at the company factory on Valencia Street in San Francisco, and he did not dismiss them. In Haas’s opinion, the workers who are authorized and the people who share the values and aspirations are similar to the company such as a manager and an owner and will make it the market leader. “You cannot make people excited or get their support unless the organization has a soul.” Haas said. Besides, he also provided equal opportunity for African-Americans to work in the factory plant in the 1950s and 1960s when they expanded their business into the southern states. In line with their business development, the community of people embraced their tradition of growing together. Strauss was then getting 40 percent of the profits from international businesses and plant products in more than 50 countries around the world. A quarter of employees worked outside the United States. Strauss chose to do the noble effort to keep driving up hiring employees when the company was in trouble. God probably helps people do noble. We hope Indonesian Aerospace Corporate could do the same.