Shifting the paradigm: Employees are an asset not an expense

Party Time


Treating hourly employees as an expense instead of an asset is a rather counterintuitive approach to having a successful business. Many business owners look at their employees as if they are a dollar sign instead of an actual person. It’s important to stop thinking about the cost of the hourly employee and look at the benefits the employee can bring to your company.

Don’t worry, I didn’t forget about you though. You’re probably wondering how exactly changing your way of thinking will benefit the business. Most articles that have a heading with something along the lines of “The 100 Best companies to work for” all have a common theme. The companies listed all care about their employees as an asset, and try to create a good environment for them.

Dr. James Goodnight, co- founder of one of the top businesses to work, for says, “We knew that if we focused on our employees and our customers, the company would prosper. It sounded simplistic then, just as it does today, but I think history has shown that taking care of employees has made the difference in how our employee takes care of our customers.”

Your company’s success is dependent on your customers happiness. 3 steps to start treating employees as an asset:

  • Hire hourly employees you genuinely care about. If you don’t care, then why should they? I’m not talking about being by their side when they break up with their significant other. I’m saying employ people that you feel can make a difference in your business. You should feel passionately about the things they do and vice versa. There are many ways to hire the right employees … Whole Foods has a great program to ensure a new hire is a good fit with the existing team. And we recently posted 3 ways to recruit top notch hourly employees.
  • Once you’ve hired the quality employee, invest in training and development. When they believe you care about their success, they will too.
  • Go the extra mile to show them you care. According to the American Psychological Association, “Employees that feel valued have higher levels of engagement, satisfaction, motivation, and even better physical and mental health.” Recognition doesn’t have to come in the form of a monetary gift – 7 examples of how our customers are appreciating employees. There are many ways to make employees feel valued, see how Chipotle is making their employees feel valued by providing PTO and tuition reimbursement to hourly employees.

This cyclical model will generate success for your company. Alcoa focused on employee safety and during a 13 year period employee productivity soared as accident rates decreased and its annual income increased by 500%.

Ask yourself, “How do my employees influence customer satisfaction?” Whether it’s face-to-face in a retail store, providing bedside nursing care, or assembling a dishwasher, every employee has influence on customer satisfaction. Determine your influence points and start rewarding employees for exceptional customer support – they will begin to understand how their efforts lead to increased revenue and they will feel a stronger connection to the company.

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