State of the Union: The "Human Element" of Business
Last week President Obama gave his eighth and final State of the Union address, in which he delivered his annual progress report on the condition of the country. The main area of interest for many viewers was what the president had to say about the current status of the economy and its impact on the average American worker.
A major theme of the speech involved the way companies today can trace their success or failure to the human element behind day-to-day operations. In fact, successful companies today realize that employees are their best assets. They know that their capacity for prosperity depends on how well the human element is treated and the level of support employees receive.
Making employees feel valued for their work is the best way for a business to ensure it will continue to see increased output and greater efficiency from its workforce. The two most important points President Obama made regarding the importance of the American worker and how to ensure businesses today continue to care for them, were:
Providing Peace of Mind
As the population continues to grow and people maintain working well past retirement age, the labor force today is larger than it’s ever been at any other time throughout history.
While retaining a steady rate of job and labor force growth is a positive thing for the overall economy, one concern some people have is whether or not they will be able to stay competitive in such a quickly growing and ever-crowded marketplace. The president spoke on this, saying:
“We need benefits and protections that provide a basic measure of security. For folks in their 40s and 50s, saving for retirement or bouncing back from job loss, things have gotten tougher. Americans understand that at some point in their careers they may have to retool and retrain.”
One way to provide the type of job security many in the marketplace seek is by offering outplacement services. These types of services can help workers facing job loss to bounce back by identifying their transferable skills and positioning them to find work in a role that best suits them. By providing employees such a benefit, employers provide workers peace of mind that they will never fall behind the skill threshold that’s required for work these days.
Employees Drive Success
Another point President Obama highlighted during his address was the role employees play in determining the success of a business. In his speech, he said:
“Many businesses have figured out that doing right by their workers ends up being good for [the company’s] shareholders, their customers, and their communities.”
A high level of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) includes caring for employees by providing them with the type of benefits that make them happy. When a company provides its employees with a suite of benefits and services, they make their workers feel truly valued. Valuing employees above all else will result in positive growth in all areas, including an increase in both revenue and public perception.
Having a proactive outplacement program in place, for example, can go a long way toward proving value to your employees; even if you are not actively undergoing a layoff, explaining to your employees that you have a plan in place to take care of them even if circumstances change can demonstrate that you value your employees enough to put plans in place to create a safety net for them, regardless of what happens in the future.
Employees are the heart of every business, and they’re capable of driving the success or failure of a company. Treating employees like real people and ensuring that they feel valued promotes a win-win scenario for everyone involved. Providing benefits like outplacement services shows employees that their work is truly important and that their employer cares about the success of their workers.