Human Resources vs. Human Capital: How You Can Value Your Employees

Happy EmployeesSome of the most effective companies around the world share a few things in common, not the least of which is how they value their employees. Of course, you can argue that you should place more value on your customers than on anyone else—a valid point, until you reach the one where your employees are responsible for providing that value to those customers.

There are model employees who would give their job their all no matter the background that comes with it: a boss they can't stand, a job that's boring instead of challenging them, office politics—you name it. But those employees are rare. Most people would leave or put in a half-hearted effort if they could hardly bear another minute working in your company.

Of course, if you are cooped up in your office the whole time and depend only on a few managers for information, you are not likely to find out what your employees need or want. To avoid problems such as resignations and even employee theft, the first step is to open your office door. Here are some other steps you can take:

Make Them Feel Valued

In truth, you need your employees, so it shouldn't be so hard to make them feel it. Making someone feel replaceable to force them to work harder might have the opposite effect. Instead, make them feel important enough that replacing them would be difficult. This is pretty simple. For example, to show how you value a top performer, reward them by sending them to an important meeting, training, or seminar for a day. This will tell them you were pleased and now you expect them to learn and do more.

Invest in Them

Many employers worry that after investing in an employee, that employee would leave and take all that they've learned in their company to their new employer. But the chances of losing a good employee are higher if they are bored, unchallenged, and undervalued. Send your newbie computer service technician to training or school, for example. They will feel more valued as they study for a Comptia A+ practice test because they are learning something new.

Be Fair with Them

When you give everyone free Starbucks out of the blue, you make them feel appreciated. But if there are people on your team who performed much more than most, you should give those people something more—perhaps the day off or a simple gift. Remind them that you are pleased with what they have accomplished and challenge them to get better. Recognition plus a challenge will motivate your best people.

Your employees are not simply human resources; they are human capital. The sooner your recognize this and act on it, the better for your company.