A company’s most valuable resource is always its employees. Any good leader knows that, no matter how big his or her salary may be or how large a golden parachute they’ve got waiting in the wings, that success comes only at the tireless work and sacrifice of the company’s workforce. It’s for this very reason that protecting that workforce and providing avenues for its growth is so crucial for the continued success of any business.
That’s why the best leaders stress the adoption and implementation of innovative human resources. These approaches are most effective when they treat your company’s workforce not just as human capital to be spent but as human beings to be praised and valued. Here are some of the best of these approaches and why implementing them is your chief responsibility as an effective business leader.
Make it More Than Just About the Money
You’ve got a responsibility to your workers. It’s a partnership: they provide you their expertise in driving your company’s success forward, and you provide them with the ability to do things like pay their rent, buy groceries, and afford to take a well-earned vacation off now and then. Make sure your compensation packages cover the basics, and that includes things like affordable health insurance and a paid time off system that doesn’t penalize people for getting sick — or taking care of sick family members.
That being said, compensation isn’t all about the money. Your workers likely spend nearly as much of their time on site than they do in their own homes. You’ve got a responsibility to show them that you value this supreme sacrifice by making their environment a comfortable one. The benefits are obvious: it’s no surprise that happy, comfortable workers work harder and more effectively when they feel like management values them. After all, countless research has found that even small concessions made for worker comfort reap huge rewards for increased worker productivity.
Taking Worker Support One Step Farther
Of course, supporting your workers goes farther than simple creature comforts like making sure they’re able to afford clothes for their kids or leaving the heat on in the winter so they don’t have to wear their winter coats in the office. Yes, ensuring that your employees can rise above the bottom few layers on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needsputs you ahead of the game of most businesses when it comes to effective human resources leadership, but don’t start lining up for your Nobel Prize just yet. There are plenty of more advanced ways you can support your workforce.
Workers need to be provided with opportunities for personal growth as part of their employment. An employee will eventually begin finding even the cushiest desk job a bore if they’re never given the opportunity to stretch their capabilities, and complacent workers are the opposite of motivated ones. Instituting programs that reward workers for their effort, either in paying or reimbursing college tuition costs for returning to school part-time or by offering continuing education classes themselves are just a few ways to provide opportunities for growth that can leave workers feeling inspired and fulfilled.
Making “Family” Mean Something
No one takes a job because they’re going to get the opportunity to sit around a campfire and sing church songs every night unless the local sleepaway camp is hiring. For the rest of us who get to wear business casual attire once a week, we didn’t sign up to get the feels from whoever’s in the next cubicle over — we came here to earn honest pay for honest work. Yet employees spend so many of their waking hours at work — not-so-coincidentally the same time they would normally spend bonding with friends and family members. This leads to an important facet of human resources-based leadership: ensuring your work environment provides room for safe and healthy social engagement.
In practice, this final facet is much less about organizing company-wide events that give workers the opportunity to awkwardly mingle with management for a few hours before shuffling back to their offices. Encouraging social connections is best left to more organic methods. What enables this is ensuring that there are human resources policies in place that enable the forging of social links and that act to reinforce open acceptance within your work environment while still preserving professionalism. This isn’t going to be easy, but then again doing the right thing by your workers never is. That is, after all, why it’s called doing the right thing.
The Final Word on Human Resources-Based Leadership Tactics
We get it; you’re not running this business out of the goodness of your heart. You’ve got a responsibility not just to keep your company firing on all cylinders but to make sure it continues to grow in the future. It’s a tough gig, but it’s one that you can make easier on yourself when you’ve got everyone in the company, from the mailroom to the boardroom, all pulling in the same direction. The most effective way to do this is to ensure that you keep in minds everyone in the company when deciding on human resources policy.
Most of the approaches delineated above will require long-term investment, the kind that can eat into profit margins and cause investors to have some very sleepless nights. But building for long-term success by creating a work environment that values workers and celebrates their accomplishments will lead to having a loyal, productive workforce that can’t wait to show up to work every day. That isn’t people over profits — that’s profits from the people.
Author: Amy Simonetta is the manager of the remote team at myaccident.org.