Darryl Stewart
By Darryl Stewart
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Man and Money on a scale, with money weighing more

The real cost of being a cheapskate boss

In September 2016, the average wage for Canadian employees was $952 a week. And it probably hasn’t grown much since then.

As our economy shifts even further away from producing goods to providing services, wages represent the largest expense for employers. You would think, then, that we would direct our leaders to do whatever it takes to make sure that their people are supported. In my experience, this is rarely the case. In fact, we tend to avoid giving people the tools and supports they need to do their best work.

If someone who is paid $952 a week is feeling unproductive because their chair is worn out and uncomfortable, shouldn’t we get them a new ergonomic chair? If their computer it slowing them down, shouldn’t we get them a faster one? If they are getting headaches because of glare, how about some proper blinds for their office? If people are running to the local coffee shop throughout the day because the office coffee tastes bad, how about getting some better coffee? Or what if they want to take some training on how to perform their job better, shouldn’t we say yes to the course?

I admit to being a cheapskate boss in my past. I saw the large cost of salaries and I thought people should just be happy with what they got since they were being paid. If someone made a request for something – like a better chair or some new blinds – I occasionally gave in, but I would not move quickly and I would certainly not encourage more of the same requests.

Nowadays, I ask each member of my team during every coaching session if they need anything to make their job easier or to help them feel more productive and happy. I have seen positive results. When you deal with someone’s concern, such as getting them a proper chair, you get a real bargain. First, they are more comfortable; and second, they feel appreciated and heard. You get two productivity enhancers for the price of one.

Take it from a former cheapskate – making sure your employees have the right tools, training, and equipment to do their jobs well is one of the best investments you can make in your organization’s performance.