Imagine you’ve had a thousand dollars sitting in your bank account for 5 years, earning 2% interest a year. And you now have a choice of leaving it in there, moving it to a mutual fund that averages 7% interest, or an investment certificate that averages 5% a year. Which would you choose? If you’re like most people, your last choice would be to leave your investment where it is. It’s the absolute basics of financial investing – find places where your money will provide you with the best yield at a risk level you’re most comfortable with.
Why is it, then, that so many of us fail to follow this simple principle when it comes to our human assets at work? Look around and you’ll see poor investments everywhere. There are superstar salespeople mired in paperwork when their time would be better spent out generating more sales. There are executives earning six-figure incomes buried in minor administrative work when they should be looking for ways to drive the organization. There are highly skilled and qualified individuals in functions that don’t come close to tapping them as a resource.
The outcome of this poor investing is two-fold: First, because you’re not using your assets properly, the organization (and you) fails significantly in achieving its potential. Second, the underused individuals feel unappreciated, undervalued and frustrated. Everybody loses.
It’s time to take a strategic look at your direct employees. Begin by asking yourself, “what is the potential that this person can bring to the table based on his (her) skills, knowledge and expertise.” Then ask, “What can I do to enable him to realize his potential?” Maybe it’s better guidance, greater freedom, more support or more resources. Do the math. If your superstar salesperson has the capability of bringing in $100 an hour, doesn’t it make better sense to hire someone for $10 an hour to do his paperwork? If your six-figure salaried executive could better use his time to increase your bottom line by 5-10%, doesn’t this justify the salary of another administrative assistant? If you have one employee who’s wildly creative – aren’t you better off getting him out of the mail room?
Remember this: If you don’t give your employees what they need to succeed – its not them who’s failing.