People - Asset or Cost?
Its true. Some of our employees are a major cost to our business - they drag down our rate of productivity and infect the workplace with negativity!
When we talk about cutting costs, what do we really mean? We mean we are about to restructure a number of employees out of the business.
However, there are workplaces whose people can be viewed not as a cost but as an investment. They are productive, motivated and committed to the organisation. They inspire their colleagues to aim high.
In a nutshell, they deliver a healthy return on investment. Is it random good luck or a well planned management strategy?
Lets look at the psychology. Who started the cost mentality? Could it be our own style of management that treats workers like expensive cogs in the wheels of our business? Or did they already come to us with performance baggage?
If its our own management style we have a chance to turn the cost scenario around. Communication is a critical element in employee behaviour and morale.
Engaging staff in more than the task at hand is important. They need to feel their opinions are important and can be incorporated in the decision making framework.
A consultative committee is a good forum for airing different views, concerns and even complaints. At the risk of giving the primary whiner a platform to moan, you ultimately havent got much to lose. You can flush out issues that might be negatively impacting on staff and boost their morale by implementing some of their suggestions.
If our employees seem to be a cost centre with bad attitude from the outset, we need to examine our recruitment process. How does such a person convince us to actually make them an offer of employment? Maybe our interview format and reference checking should be reviewed. Maybe we need professional help.
We might also have an image problem in the market place. Why was someone who is so clearly unprepared to contribute, attracted to us in the first place? We may be sending a message that we are sloppy, not an establishment of high performers and a good place to park yourself for an easy ride.
This is extremely serious and certainly not a scenario in which we will attract the cream of the employment pool in the future. Employers of choice fiercely protect their reputation. The title has employees lining up, eager to prove they will be an asset to the organisation.
Make sure we have the management strategy and human resource policies in place to guarantee our employees are prized possessions. They give our business a vibrancy that allows optimum performance. We cannot do it alone. We need our staff to grow our business. Make sure we have the right team to maximise the investment