Your greatest asset, eh? Turning a buzz phrase into an actual business practice


Workers have been challenging employers for a while now to make good on their claim that “employees are our greatest assets.”  Because, let’s face it—some employers haven’t exactly been walking the walk.

The effects of the Great Recession haven’t faded completely, but overall, companies are doing well, and according to sources, including PayScale’s 2015 Compensation Best Practices Report, they expect to continue doing well.

Still, wages are generally stagnant, benefits that were cut during the recession have yet to make a full comeback, and the internet is crowded with employees routinely complaining about how they’re doing the jobs of three people without any appreciation or recognition.

Truth be told, employers need to understand there are consequences for speaking out of both sides of the mouth.

A recent study by Jobvite found that 45 percent of satisfied workers are open to a new role, and 50 percent of employees view their current job as a “placeholder.” What’s more, surveys consistently show that only a third of American workers are engaged (and Gallup says these are the highest numbers since 2000).

How can employers turn this sad state of affairs around?

From buzz phrase to business practice

Intuitively, employers know that employees distinguish one organization from another. Even a company with a terrific product far above the competition owes that advantage to the creativity of its people.

Employers can demonstrate they “get it” AND reap the rewards of cultivating an en-gaged and loyal workforce by:

  • Offering fair compensation. More pay is the number one reason workers leave jobs. Subpar pay and benefits causes employees to feel used and abused and may leave them unable to meet their financial goals. It’s only a matter of time before these cash-strapped and stressed employees check out virtually and then for real.
  • Giving employees a say. Employees want to know their opinions and ideas mat-ter. Regularly soliciting input from employees not only makes them feel good, it’s a solid best business practice that ensures those closest to the work have oppor-tunity to provide feedback about it.
  • Promoting transparency. It’s fine to disseminate information on a “need to know” basis, but when everything’s a secret, employees become anxious and re-sentful and may also lack pertinent data to do the job. 
  • Advocating work-life balance. Every employee needs time to attend to personal and family matters and to recharge and renew.
  • Encouraging positive work relationships. Studies have shown that workplace friendships increase engagement levels, so provided work is getting done think twice before reprimanding an employee for “socializing” too much.  
  • Taking grievances seriously. Not every conflict is a “personality dispute.” When bullies and tyrants are allowed to abuse others with impunity, everyone loses.
  • Providing training and development opportunities. Not every employee wants to be developed, it’s true, but those who do will appreciate the opportunity to gain new skills, experience, and knowledge. 

In the end, transforming the “greatest asset” buzz phrase into an actual business practice is a simple matter of recognizing your employees as whole persons apart from what they can do for you at any given moment.

And ironically, when you take this approach, your organization will be full of employees who’ll willingly do more than you could ever ask.

Download PayScale’s 2015 Compensation Best Practices Report TODAY for more great info about compensation and industry best practices!


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