Value Your Employees
By Tamara Martfeld
One of the greatest assets of your business is the employees, including yourself. Too many mangers forget this and treat the employees with disrespect and show through many actions that the employees are considered nothing other than a tool to get business done. This is a costly mistake. When employees are treated this way, they leave and need to be replaced. The cost of hiring and training employees can be significant, especially if you are having to do it every few months. So, how do you show your employees that you value them? It is really quite easy, even without a lot of money.
First of all, develop your employees. If money is available for formal training, take advantage of that money and try to have each employee attend formal training. If money is not available, take advantage of what the internet and libraries have to offer. There are free trainings available on-line, and there are many self-training resources available in print. Even a good book on a topic that will help the employee improve is better than nothing. You should be able to provide a day or two within a year to let the employee take the training on your time. In addition to training, you can provide opportunities to let the employee grow on the job. For example, you can delegate some of your higher-level work so that the employee learns how to do it and has some experience to help when promotions become available.
When promotions come available, look internally first. Look for any employee interested in the job and determine if the person might be able to do the job. If the employee is overall qualified for the job but not perfect for the job, give the employee a chance. Let them train on the job in the areas where they have not yet had the opportunity to grow. If you pass the employee up for someone on the outside, the employee is likely to leave and take valuable knowledge with him. If you try to hire only “perfect” candidates when promotional opportunities occur, you will likely have a very long and expensive process which may not be cost-effective.
Acknowledge when an employee has done a good job on something. A simple “thank you” really goes a long way. When an employee goes above and beyond their assigned duties or works extra hard to meet a short deadline, take extra effort to make sure the employee knows you saw the work and appreciate it. If you can afford it, take the employee out to lunch or throw a pizza party as a celebration. Saying nothing and doing nothing will only make the employee feel unappreciated and lower morale. Trust me – I have seen this many times, frequently with the valuable, highly knowledgeable employee leaving to find a place where he might be appreciated.
Lastly, treat all employees with the respect you would give a potential customer you are trying to win over to your business. Your employees should be treated better than your customers. When the employees are treated well, there is a trickle-down effect in the way your employees treat the customers. In other words, treating your employees well will result in better treatment of the customer and increased business. When employees are treated poorly, they will just do the minimum required for the paycheck. Customers will sense this and move to other businesses whenever possible. If you are a government office, you will be feeding into the negative opinion many have about government workers.
Another advantage to treating your employees well is that they will watch your back. When things start going wrong or the unexpected occurs, they will work to make you look good. If you treat them poorly, they may work against you, complain to your supervisor, and watch gleefully as you fail. I have seen this happen a few times.
Showing that you value your employees is so easy and takes very little effort. Make that effort and you may find the morale improved, the work getting done faster and possibly with fewer errors, and your own work-related stress improved due to the overall better working conditions you have created.
Have a great May Day, and May the Fourth be with you!
PS: For non-Star Wars fans, the last is a play on “May the Force be with you”, a common line within the many Star Wars movies. Sorry, I did not make it up, but I think it is a fun play on words.