Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Habit of Generosity

I have a client firm that is relatively small. It has 16 people and does transportation work in the metropolitan area. Each year, the firm completes performance evaluations in order to provide employees with much needed feedback—what they are doing well, what they could improve upon and how their career can develop and progress. In prosperous years, this small firm would distribute bonuses to its employees—not because of its largess, but as a means of retaining staff.

Whether the acknowledgement is monetary—in the form of benefits, bonuses or incentive compensation, or non monetary—such as additional days off, training /educational opportunities, casual Fridays, breakfast days or flex-schedules, effective firms have retention strategies to keep their intellectual capital (otherwise known as staff) happy. Why? The cost of turnover is too great, especially for smaller firms.

In recent years, almost all the CFOs I’ve spoken to have had to take a hard look at the cost of their benefits packages. In some cases, they’ve taken on increased premiums while offsetting with higher co-pays, partial contributions by employees or benefits for employees only. Many have also sought ways to reward and retain employees through non-monetary benefits. There is no right or wrong answer in terms of what to offer. My only observation is this: Firms that have figured out the correlation between satisfied employees and productivity are the same firms that have low turn-over rates, high productivity and profits.

The habit of generosity is one to acquire, and share!

Karen Compton, CPSM. Karen Compton is principal of A3K Consulting (Glendale, CA), a business development and strategic planning firm specializing in the architecture, engineering and construction industries. Ms. Compton is also the founder of Industry Speaks™, a web-based business-to-business portal that connects AEC firms with experienced consultants, provides peer reviews of consultants, reports on key industry trends, and publishes expert reviews of professional courses and books. Contact her at kcompton@a3kconsulting.com.

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