We’ve all seen the pictures of chimps sitting in call centers wearing headsets, mocking those of us who are on the phone for a living. Don’t get me wrong, I think they’re funny too, and I laugh along with everyone else, but it gets me thinking about the people I’m working with every day.

While it’s true that anyone is capable of dialing a phone (they were invented in 1876, after all), it takes a special set of skills to get perfect strangers to open up about the business challenges they’re facing in their work environments. I still remember my first day, when our president explained to me the value of hiring smart employees, and how this isn’t a job for idiots.

I recently read an article on Chron.com entitled Importance of Smart Employees in Today’s Workplace.  It argues that hiring smart people is essential to a successful business, especially in the fast-paced, rapidly-changing world we all live and work in today.

In addition to my normal job functions, I am also heavily involved in our recruitment and training program. Our team, composed of other business development representatives, works together to design best practice scenarios for recruiting, interviewing, and the training program.  New hires get a lot of information thrown at them in the first week and require the ability to digest that information very quickly. Once someone’s on a project, the real training begins. Being able to make strategic adjustments to a project and think on the fly when a prospect asks a question out of left field is not a role for the weak of mind.

Companies that let their employees’ voices be heard will see direct benefits from the results. Instead of a 10 person management team keeping tabs on a bunch of drones, we have a 50-person team that not only offers ideas and feedback to the management, but is encouraged to do so. Several recent changes have been a direct result of employee/management feedback, and the company is reaping the benefits as a whole.

We’ve all worked jobs with stifling management or greedy owners looking at how much they can squeeze out of their employees for as little as possible in return.  Smart employees don’t last long at those companies. Embrace the intelligence of the people you work with and your company will only grow and improve as a result.