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Ensure Your Staff Are An Asset, Not A Liability

Published January 14, 2016 (last updated June 24, 2020) -
Two Coworkers Discussing Workplace Assets And Liabilities

Are Employees Assets or Liabilities?

We have many discussions with clients, partners and potential clients about the value of staff – retaining the good, managing the poor and removing the bad, but when it actually comes down to it, are your staff an asset or a liability?

In our line of work, more often than not we hear staff described as a liability. They are a cost centre to any business and truth be told, they can be hard to manage. However, how do you feel when you have a staff member that goes above and beyond and really helps to drive your business? You want more of that person, correct? Yes, part and parcel of this employee’s goodness is their personality, morals and talent but you can steer some employees down the goodness path, and here is how.

No matter your industry, with good staff comes improved culture, increased profitability, client/customer/partner retention and terrific brand awareness. A big part of securing the correct staff will come from your recruiting however, once they are in your business, as an employer and a leader, part of your job is to shape and mould them to be the best they can be.

In a small business, job roles can sometime be intertwined and time is scarce. It is still imperative you are aware of your staff, their roles and the job they are doing.

Feel Like Your Staff Is Becoming A Liability?

If you feel your staff are a liability, there are two things you need to do. One, assess your staff to determine if they are right for the company and the role and two, ask yourself if you are managing them correctly. Poor people management can often be linked to poor performance and misconduct.

As a leader, here are four questions you should ask yourself and try to reflect upon.

1. How do you treat your employees?

As the age old saying goes, treat them the way you would expect to be treated. During your employees first few days, implement a buddy system to encourage their learning and adaption into the business.

Always encourage all your staff, new and old, to provide you with continual, regular feedback throughout their employment. Did you know there is a 15% lower turnover rate in companies who encourage and invite regular feedback!

Talking with your staff rather than to them also allows this feedback and open communication to flow, and allows staff to feel valued and respected.

2. How do your staff perceive you?

Are you liked and respected as a leader of your company? Or have you created an environment of fear and disrespect?

Leading and managing people is hard and at times you need to have those difficult conversations, critic work and perhaps make unpleasant decision, but how you conduct yourself during these times will touch almost every aspect of your business. For example, staff output, quality of work, internal and external relationships, sick days taken and most of all, your staff’s willingness to exceed expectations.

Understanding your staff will allow you to adopt the most appropriate management method. A one style fits all leadership will not work in any situation. The best leaders are those that are fluid and flexible in their approach, adapting where necessary.

3. How is your company culture?

Company culture feeds from the top down. It is a dynamic, living thing that is so much more than something written on a piece of paper or an idea. Your company culture will be the stepping stone for behaviour in the workplace, along with the language, attitudes and passion expressed both internally and external from the workplace.

A positive company culture can have an incredible impact on employees by empowering them and giving them the drive to succeed and ultimately, their success mean company profits.

Reflect on the culture and think about things such as:

  • your company values
  • your communication channels
  • staff engagement levels
  • empowerment towards a collective company vision
  • professional development
  • rewards

4. Do you have a system in place for staff recognition?

Every company need a systematic way to reward staff for a job well done. Entrepreneur.com suggests a reward system should address four key areas – compensation, benefits, recognition and appreciation.

When considering a system you need to look at what behaviours are important to you and your company and determine the targets in those behaviour that result in a specific reward. For example, consider your rewards system like a ladder your staff need to climb in order to achieve. It is however, very important to ensure the targets are not out of reach and that you apply the same rule across all employees.

About Employsure

Employsure is Australia’s largest workplace relations specialists. We take the complexity out of workplace laws to help small business employers protect their business and their people.

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