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Treating Humans as a Valuable Resource, a COO’s perspective

Sound business practices in human resources – whether at Backflip or your company – for hiring, transitioning, training, evaluations, wages and bonuses, benefit plan design and communication are critically important.  Consistently giving employees the tools to succeed in each particular position, and making sure the right people are in the positions with the best fit may sound simple, but simply isn’t done well in many businesses. Instead of cringing about the cost for training and updating practices, allow yourself to cringe about the cost of losing a valuable employee or not utilizing that person’s talents properly.  Doing HR right means happier employees, happier management, lower turnover, and a better return on the investment you make in your people.

Before forging ahead with more objective improvements, the key here is to make sure you have created the type of culture that you want in your workplace.  Learning and paying attention to what best motivates each individual and your team is an art.  If it’s not there yet, a purposeful and consistent approach to culture change is necessary to keep in the back of your mind as you move ahead.  This is best done as you tackle the more objective process improvements. Together these two points of focus will allow you to optimize your business with staying power.  Why is this true?  Well, you can only do so much yourself.  In short, a winning culture releases more of the talents of your employees which is good for you, for them and for the business.

I want to share a personal example from a previous management position I held that embodies doing both process improvements and some culture change at the same time.  An administrative assistant with minimal education, but lots of drive and potential, went from playing solitaire at work to a very important role at the company.  How?  Well, the company went from 3 inventory systems to one spreadsheet and a logical process.  Then we taught her how to maintain the inventory, sent her to excel class and soon she was improving the system and running with it beyond management’ s expectations.  This allowed us to pay her more as she continued to take on more and more responsibility.  We believe that promoting based on drive and abilities rather than  the rather uncreative “do you have a college degree” was motivational for many others at our company and improved the culture for all.  She really appreciated someone seeing her potential and it strengthened our working relationship.  Needless to say, she doesn’t play cards at work anymore!