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You get what you pay for when it comes to your investments

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Jennifer Onks Jennifer Onks
Carrie Bowe Carrie Bowe

Jennifer Onks, M.A. and Carrie Bowe, M.S. both work for Clayman & Associates, PLLC in Charleston.

There are a great number of investments necessary for any successful business operation. Equipment, technology and personnel are among the most important — each critical in its respective function in the overall success of the organization.

Commonly, resources are allocated for equipment maintenance and repair and to continuously update technology requirements, but is the same attention being given to ensure that your workforce is also performing at its maximum potential?

What is Your Approach?

Do you treat your employees as valued partners in your company's success, or are they viewed as replaceable commodities?

Across the board, companies approach systematic training (onboarding) and work performance many different ways. The idea here is that treatment equals value. Some implement structured hiring practices, detailed coaching and continuous motivation and monitoring to ensure that all employees remain accountable, satisfied and productive. Other managers operate under the notion that if an employee becomes ineffective, they can easily be replaced and have few to no planned processes in place.

The Cost of Easy

In reality, sometimes replacement is the best option if there has been some clear violation of company policy or if an employee is performing simplistic, repetitive tasks; however, even on basic levels, most companies rely on their employees to perform skills necessary for daily operations of the organization. No matter an employee's status level, every company must consider the time and resources it requires to bring and maintain its personnel. Easy is not always simple. Turnover is costly. Consider this: the average cost of hiring a new employee in recruiting and training can result in nearly $35,000.

Act Now, Act How?

Recruiting, interviewing and training are essential parts of a successful talent acquisition. The best thing is to avoid a bad hire. That's why a deliberate hiring process is imperative — studies have shown that up to 90 percent of people lie on resumes and in job interviews.

While this course can seem tedious and trying, there are outside resources available to help you invest in the right people for your company's culture, goals and job needs by performing relevant assessments and evaluations.

Beware of the Rotten Apples

Investing in your work force goes far beyond getting the right people in the door — it's equally as important to effectively place, train and maintain them. Sometimes even the most relied upon performers can begin to show signs of problematic behavior.

As a decision maker, how do you deal when an employee's behavior has changed off baseline?

The saying "one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch" may sound cliché, but it's true.  If a company has a malignant employee, he/she has the potential to derail the entire operation, especially if the behaviors go unnoticed or uncorrected. There are several different maladaptive personality traits that can cause issues within the work place. Additionally, these individuals have a higher likelihood of future problems — they are the employees most likely to file grievances, or worse, sue.
As a business owner, manager or HR professional, it is difficult to tread the fine line between concerned employer and prying boss. Handling matters beyond your expertise or ability introduces the potential for complications that can arise when trying to address a problematic employee or situation, particularly if the company does not have a detailed policy and procedure. If an employee already feels slighted, and the termination process is not handled properly, litigation is likely to occur. Regardless if the suit is settled or damages are awarded, the average company's cost to settle a wrongful termination lawsuit is usually around $85,000.

The Real Bottom Line

Whether an employee is salvageable or not is an important investment decision.  Management must determine what issues or critical incidents have occurred that have led the team to question an employee's capabilities. How can you feel confident that their return to work is beneficial for everyone involved?

The most important thing a company can do for the long-term sustainability of its employees and operations is to secure a trusted, third-party resource that can help navigate the waters of potentially troubled employees and situations. For your workplace problems, you need clear solutions with a proven, data-driven process, quality output and dedicated service and support — before, during and after the referral.

Rather than thinking only about the immediate dollar cost of resolving employee issues, consider also the long-term actual costs of taking inappropriate action or doing nothing.
When you get what you pay for, be sure that what you're paying for is worth getting—be informed and consider all your options.

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