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Talking About Financial Matters That Affect You and Your Organization

Building the Solution

Posted by Gordon R. Hart

Oct 31st, 2015

Building the Solution

sus·tain·able

adjective \sə-ˈstā-nə-bəl\

: able to be used without being completely used up or destroyed

: involving methods that do not completely use up or destroy natural resources

: able to last or continue for a long time

© 2014 Merriam-Webster, Incorporated


As we move into 2016 one of the most common discussions with clients revolves around sustainability.

The workforce is the backbone of most organizations. Ensuring that the workforce see that they are valued is important to ensuring that they don’t pick up and leave for another opportunity that gives them the recognition and support they deserve. Productive employees are free agents in today’s labour market. People stay with organization that they believe in, and that demonstrates appreciation for their knowledge, skills, and abilities. Creating a compensation plan is a challenge but the effort is rewarded with establishing yourself as a preferred employer.

To create a sustainable and competitive value proposition for employees is a challenge, but here are a few ideas to get you started,

Environment. While employee benefits are part of the solution, the process starts with creating the right environment. This does not have to be an expensive endeavour. Allowing the workforce to create their own personal space (nest if you will), with all of the allowable comforts will help create a productive environment. Pictures and mementos of their family remind your staff why the jump out of bed to get to work.

Communication, communication, communication. Teambuilding before, during and after big projects or throughout your business cycle helps align the staff with an organization’s goals. Having an opportunity to build strong bonds with the people you work with helps create the relationships that matter and are difficult to break. Building a relevant communication feed-back loop works hand in glove with continuous improvement. Not only providing opportunities to showcase your employee’s entrepreneurial talents, but keeping the lines of communication open and positive will help build a productive environment.

Perks. Using your buying power to negotiate discounts for a variety of consumer services like gym memberships and banking will all drive deeper connections with your staff and will not cost the organization any money. Many organization are willing to extend preferred terms to your workforce, you just need to ask.

Expected and Unexpected. Implementing a fair program for family and sick days is important in ensuring that the employees are not punished for unexpected occurrences. Giving more authority to employees to manage the vacation and paid time off will give flexibility and help maintain productivity. While flexibility may increase complexity, investing in a good scheduling system will alleviate the stress of managing the workforce that often pushes companies to stringent policies and procedures. An engaged and empowered workforce can self-manage a well crafted paid time off program.

Risk Management. The next logical step would be the implementation of an employee benefit program or pension plan. The decision to implement the plan should be done with care to deliver the right balance of coverage and cost. The program should reflect the brand and culture you wish to create. The design should address the desire for choice and individualism, a focus on prevention and wellness, the equitable allocation of costs, and the benefits of leveraging time and resources. All too often, employers focus on immediate pricing without considering the implications on future costs. Having to pull back coverage or frequently changing providers to maintain affordability taints the employee’s view of the organization. It is important to point out that employees are not intrinsically concerned about how benefit plans work, their feeling about the plan often reflects the most recent interaction they had, so it is crucial to design the program around human behaviour. An engaged and empowered workforce can make better decisions and drive improved efficacy on benefit plans.

Take the time. Spending time engaging and re-educating the staff about the breadth and depth of your compensation program will pay dividends.

Building the Solution

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