HR: Nurturing employees protects your most valuable asset

| Print |  Email
Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Organizations have only two assets — people and money. Money buys the equipment, the inventory and the facilities. Employers spend considerable time managing the money of the organization. They budget it, forecast it, analyze it, report it, invest it and account for it.

But where is the corollary effort regarding people? Where is the attention to training and developing skills and critical performance management? In the majority of organizations, thoughtful attention to planning, training, coaching, developing and rewarding employees often is relegated to the last item on a long list by supervisors who already have a full plate of their own work.

Ostensibly, employees are hired because they are the best qualified for the position. Looking at the actions of employers however, it would be possible to reach a different conclusion. Employees are often not asked for opinions. They are not given the right to voice concerns about direction or processes. Information to employees is often scant and/or tardy. There is little transparency or information sharing because it is assumed that the employees won’t care or don’t need to know. It appears that effort is made to hire capable individuals but, once hired, they are treated as though they can’t be trusted to think or act in a responsible fashion.

Jennifer Jarratt of Coates and Jarratt, a futurist firm in Washington, D.C., says, “Human capital is the largest resource organizations do not own.” Every morning employees get up and make an employment decision. They decide whether they are going to continue to work for their current organization. In some cases, they decide that they’re not, and abandon their job. In other cases, they come to work, but are so disengaged that they spend their time doing everything but work.

A study conducted by the Gallup organization about 20 months ago found that 71% of employees were spending two hours in a workday surfing the Internet, making personal calls or running personal errands. Another study by Salary.com in August 2006 found that 17% of employees were actually sabotaging the employers’ efforts by deliberately irritating and driving away customers.

It doesn’t take a human resource professional to understand that people matter, or to do something about it.  Finding ways to connect to your workforce is one of the most important ways of retaining your most valuable asset. Here are some ways to accomplish that:

  • Share more information, not less. Tell employees about organizational goals and challenges. Employees understand that there are good and bad times and will appreciate knowing the current state of business.

  • Ask employees for their opinions. Be clear that they aren’t making the decision, but let them know their opinions matter.

  • Create a “we” organization. Employees can be invested in the success of the enterprise, just like managers and owners are. By referring to it as “us” or “we,” you acknowledge their connection and create an environment where everyone cares about the outcomes.

  • Plan for the future. What can employees look forward to? What additional responsibilities could be on the horizon? Working toward something is far better than just working.

  • Have fun! Laughter, camaraderie, and personal contact let people build relationships with one another. Those relationships can create a “stickiness” that retains staff.

The Gallup study summary says: “The success of your organization doesn’t depend on your understanding of economics or organizational development or marketing. It depends, quite simply, on your understanding of psychology: how each individual employee connects with your company; how each individual employee connects with your customers.”

Anthropologist Margaret Mead said it this way: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Change “citizens”  to “employees” and the statement would be just as true.

Imagine if a small group of employees could be that powerful, think how outcome altering it would be if every employee shared the same passion for excellence.

— Judy Clark, CEO, HR Answers
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

More Articles

The Human Factor

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015
BY BRIAN LIBBY

Matt French opens up South Waterfront.


Read more...

Justice for All

January-Powerbook 2015
Thursday, December 11, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

Lawger upends the typical hourly based fee model by letting clients determine the cost.


Read more...

Playoffs pay off for the Ducks

The Latest
Friday, January 02, 2015
oregon-ducks-logo-helmet-thumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

The University of Oregon football team looked unstoppable on the field Jan. 1 — and the university is reaping the benefits of the new postseason format.


Read more...

Behind the curtain: What students should know about accreditation and rankings

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, December 04, 2014
120414-edurating-thumbBY DEBRA RINGOLD | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

How important are institutional and/or program evaluations provided by third parties in selecting a college or university program?


Read more...

The city as startup

Guest Blog
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
011415 citystartup-thumbBY NISHANT BHAJARIA | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

Startups in the growth phase are associated with a fresh infusion of capital — human and financial — a curiosity factor and products to disrupt the market and drive demand. Portland’s economy gives off the same aroma.


Read more...

MBA Perspective

February 2015
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

Robin Anderson, dean of the Pamplin School of Business, University of Portland: "You need people who are comfortable leading in ambiguity."


Read more...

Tackling the CEO-worker pay gap

January-Powerbook 2015
Thursday, December 11, 2014
BY OREGON BUSINESS STAFF

An SEC rule targets the disparity between executive and employee compensation, reigniting a long-standing debate about corporate social responsibility.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS