Is your company getting a good return on employee investment (ROEI)? Considering the total investment you have in each employee, you need to know that the benefits derived from an employee are in fact outweighing the costs. Costs typically include the base salary, bonus, stock and/or options, health and dental benefits, paid vacation, sick leave, 401(k) match, Social Security, Medicare, payroll taxes (UI), training, computer, phone – and more.
Companies spend a lot of time and energy measuring and growing their non-human investments, and dedicate considerable attention to getting a good return. Boards of Directors and shareholders hold publicly-traded companies’ feet to the fire on these returns as they relate to the investment costs – and rightfully so. But do they hold their investments in human capital to the same level of scrutiny? No, and usually it’s not even close.
How do you explain this, particularly when human capital-related costs are sometimes the largest single expense in a company? It is frankly indefensible. Most companies think they are doing enough by measuring employee performance via a merit-based compensation program. Whereas employee measurement is important, it is no substitute for getting a full return on the investment of that employee.
So what is the answer? A company should start by caring as much for its employees as it does for its non-human assets. Many companies pay handsomely to protect their reputations and to enhance their images with expensive public relations and advertising campaigns. They also spend large sums on buying or leasing space, maintaining and upgrading it regularly; and they spend heavily on facility security, technology and equipment upgrades, and facility grounds and upkeep.
I don’t dispute the need for these investments, but they are no more important than the upkeep and improvement of a company’s single most important investment – its employees.
Companies should constantly challenge employees through value-added training and development. They should utilize creative compensation programs to spur greater productivity and innovation. Companies should meanwhile be aggressive in managing out those employees who are not holding up their end of the bargain – that is, those employees who are taking more from the organization than they are giving to it.
In short, an employer should seek to appreciate its largest appreciating asset by mining and growing the talent that exists in its current workforce. Improving your ROI is smart business, and so is improving your ROEI.