If you’re wondering whether or not the employee – employer relationship is affected by all of our country’s economic woes, the answer is yes. OMG YES!
The answer is rooted in Maslow’s classic theory. You probably remember it – Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. He said that every person has needs and for us to achieve a higher need (for example, personal growth) we must first take care of a basic need (i.e. safety and security). Now, translate this into our everyday jobs. For me to focus on making sales and servicing customers, I need some of the basics handled like getting paid on time and having adequate benefits.
At this point, some people might be saying, “Shouldn’t my employees just be lucky they have a job?” “How is the company supposed to provide more than it already is?” There are things companies can do to show their employees they care and are sensitive to the challenges of today’s economy…without it costing extra.
Do tell, you say? Here are two things you can do:
- Make sure your health care coverage addresses employee’s needs. I once worked for a company that only offered an indemnity plan. Why? Because the owners wanted an indemnity plan, of course. They couldn’t fathom that any employee would want an HMO or a POS plan. It was only when they were faced with a huge premium increase that HR was allowed to explore options. The result: they offered two plans. 90% of the employees switched to the HMO, saving the company and the employees over 15% in premiums.
- Align recognition programs with corporate culture. (Another true story). A company gave employees service pins and awards from Tiffany & Co. They were really beautiful. But, the average hourly pay of a company employee was $8.50. So what did the employees do with their recognition? They took it to the pawn shop for cash, of course.
When budgets are tight (and even when they aren’t), make sure your benefits and recognition are what your employees want/need. Talk with your employees. Share options. Find out what they want. Every dollar spent should get the desired bang for the buck. Your employees will thank you for it.