June 3, 2016
If you’ve been an employer for any length of time, and by that I mean years, not months, you are familiar with the cyclical nature of it all, and like many things that go in cycles, it’s either feast or famine.
When business is slow, and the owner is praying for customers to walk through that door, it seems like every potential customer turns out to be a job-seeker instead, hitting you up like a high-pressure salesperson with just the thing you don’t need at just the moment you don’t need it. The irony is, if there were only more customers walking through the door instead of job hunters, you would probably need the services of a few of these people.
By contrast, when the time comes that you find yourself in need of help, prospective employees are no longer falling out of trees. They’ve suspiciously gotten more expensive to hire, and the list of demands as a condition for taking the job has gotten quite a bit longer. There was actually a time when the hunt for talented, reliable and qualified people had yielded such poor results, it caused me to leave my partner with the directive that still haunts me today; “If they show up for the interview, hire them. If they show up for work, give them a raise.” I know at least a few of you have thought this at one point in time, if not said or acted on it!
Lately, hiring and especially retaining employees has gotten exponentially more difficult. It is as if the need to work – a strong driving element in predicting performance, is gone in many cases, as is the pride in a job well done which makes it very difficult to motivate or incentivize. That’s not to say that there aren’t good people out there, but if you want the best and the brightest, you’ve got to bring a more creative compensation package to the table than before.
It’s not all about the money; setting a new employee up for a long-term and successful career with your company has as much to do with structuring their compensation package around their needs as the tangible value of the package. Of course, how much you can reasonably deviate from your company’s standard protocol depends on how your individual business is structured, but overall, the more “personalized power perks” (as one expert calls it), that you can implement in your business, the higher the level of engagement, morale, and retention you should experience from your staff and new prospects as well.
Beyond salary, beyond standard benefits, the new barometer of job satisfaction is more personal and individualized. Regularly scheduled and constructive feedback, basic conversations, lunches, gift cards; recognition comes in many forms, as long as it comes. Office parties and other social events, time off for family or personal chores or events, flexible schedules to accommodate school or other educational pursuits, are all valuable and personalized perks that can make the difference between an ordinary job and extraordinary company.
It follows that employee performance numbers are reflective of a positive work environment, and these are measured in a number of different ways. From happiness quotients to productivity per dollar earned, there is plenty of data supporting the new thinking surrounding implementation of employee-centric perks and activities into your workplace. The only questions are:
The bottom line is, everything looks good on paper. Implementation will deliver the proof of performance, but you need to make the commitment to do it right. Otherwise, you’ll only be cheating your staff, your business, and ultimately, yourself.
The Volpe Consulting & Accounting Team