New Lantern

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Welcome to the New Lantern blog. Our goal is to shine light on leading innovators and creative artists, and how your business can learn and profit from them. Companies large, medium, and small can benefit from employees who think more creatively. New Lantern may be just the source of inspiration your company needs to spark more innovative products, services, and processes.

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Monthly Archive for June, 2012

Growing Your ROEI

Posted by on June 21, 2012 at 8:20 pm

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.

Whistle While You Work

Posted by on June 3, 2012 at 9:32 pm

Universal Pictures’ Snow White & the Huntsman opened this weekend and quickly shot to number one in box office sales in response to a big marketing campaign and an attractive cast including Charlize Theron and Kristen Stewart.

Despite the early success of this action-fantasy movie and its much darker twist on an old tale, I frankly prefer the upbeat time-tested Snow White original.

For example, I like the important and simple life-lesson that the original seven dwarfs gave us with their advice to “whistle while you work.”

Ok, maybe if you actually whistle out loud at work, you may bear the wrath of your colleagues. However, figuratively speaking, the idea of being happy while you work will only serve to increase your productivity.

Managers should take note as well. It is up to them and the senior management team to provide for a workplace and culture that fosters happy employees. Managers should be willing to use every tool in the tool box to accomplish this feat, including flex time, awards and recognition, morale events, more creative work environments, etc.

There’s no better source for ideas on how to spur a more content workplace than to solicit suggestions from the employees themselves. It doesn’t mean you have to respond to every suggestion. What is important is that you genuinely listen to your employees in terms of what can make them more happy – and thus more productive.

By doing so, you’ll find that it will pay far more in long-term dividends than it will cost.

And that’s a nice tune that you can whistle to.