As with a lot of things in life, work can be seen from many different angles. By extension, this provides organizations with several approaches to assess how valuable their members are individually and collectively. This can affect certain decisions, such as whether to promote them or give them a pay raise.
The thing is, a lot of the approaches or angles that are still in use today are woefully outdated and can hinder you from discovering the true value of your workers. Changing these perspectives can help you get a more realistic pulse on how important your people are as assets to your organization. And when you know how valuable they are and treat them accordingly, you’re more likely to retain them.
So what are these perspectives that you can change to better understand the value of your workers? Each week we will examine one of them and tell you all about how to turn these blind spots into vantage points.
Businesses today stand on a foundation of 21st century principles, theories, and methods. The rules of engagement between them and their customers have evolved, reflecting how sudden changes can shape economies in as little as ten years.
But through mankind’s economic history, one principle has remained the same: returns are only possible if something has been invested.
It’s true that there are risks involved in investing. An organization might spend money on something that turns out to be an opportunity of little value. But it’s possible to categorize investment opportunities and subsequently focus only on those that will have long-term benefits. The point is that an organization cannot expect returns from something that they have not invested any time or resources in.
And nowhere is this more applicable than in the context of investing in people.
The most obvious point of discussion here is compensation and benefits. It’s a sensitive subject that, unfortunately, some employers actively avoid because they see it as a possible source of expenses. They believe that employees, especially those who have recently been underperforming, are undeserving of any further concessions in their salary and benefits regardless of their total contributions to the organization’s success.
However, poor performance (and many other issues that involve employees) can be traced to a variety of stressors that include financial troubles. It’s true that money is not everything to a professional; but it’s not nothing, either. No matter how idealistic an organization wants its employees to be, there is no escaping the reality that these people are human beings whose capability to survive and provide for themselves and their families is hinged on money.
With that in mind, anything that can help manage the worsening cost of living would help restore some level of motivation to deserving employees who may be struggling to sustain their basic needs. The same thing applies to health or other welfare benefits; increasing their coverage or switching to a provider who can give better access to these services would relieve employees of a significant source of stress that may be affecting their focus. And employees that are fully focused are ones that can fully engage in their duties and deliver excellent results.
In some cases, better compensation and benefits for those who deserve such treatment might even convince them to stay with the company.
Even without discussing compensation and benefits, there are other forms of investment that amount to more than just unnecessary company expenses.
Professionals are obliged to bring something of value to their organization. That’s a core part of any employment agreement. But when an employee has given the same contribution throughout their tenure, it is no longer something of considerable value. They must then come up with something new to contribute that creates fresh opportunities for their organization.
And it is at this juncture that employee growth and development plays an important part. Capacity-building programs and periodic training can empower everyone to identify new targets, develop more productive strategies, and sustain and grow their organization’s brand, all in ways that were previously unavailable to them. This gives them, and the organization by extension, a competitive market edge. Those who fail to take advantage of professional learning opportunities that are worth the cost will soon find that they are missing out on doors that may never open again.
The entire point of this idea is that if you don’t invest anything that would ease your employees’ financial worries, convince them to stay longer, and equip them with new strengths, you might not get another chance and eventually lose great talent.
So the next time you’re hesitating to spend a little more on helping your people grow, think about the return of investment you could be missing.