What is your responsibility to your employees?

Many people seem to believe their responsibility to their employees ends when they hand over the check. In other words, the employee works a 40 hour week and in return, you pay them X amount of dollars (and other benefits)

Is that the only responsibility you have to your employees?

If you have an assistant who is doing an excellent job (and seems happy) are you content with keeping them in their current position or, do you feel an obligation to help them achieve a higher level? This higher level might be in your own organization but it also might result in you losing this employee.

As an example, if you are a college coach and have a very good assistant coach, do you keep them doing what they do best or do you also give them the exposure to other responsibilities so that you help them prepare to possibly become a head coach in the future?

The disadvantage of you exposing them to other responsibilities is it might take them away from what they do best and these other responsibilities might be something you, or someone else can do better (at first). Also, once they get a well rounded education, they might be more marketable for a new job. So, in helping the employee, you might be hurting you and your organization (short term).

The advantage of you exposing them to other responsibilities is they become a better overall employee and if something happens to another employee (or to you) they will be better equipped to step in and help.

Also, it’s easier to recruit high level employees if they see you are going to be preparing them for career advancement.

I have seen organizations intentionally limit their employees and do whatever they could to prevent their advancement in order to allow them to maintain a more stable workforce. However, those organizations frequently end up failing.

If you have an employee who is capable of advancing to a higher level and is content with their current level (and is doing an excellent job at that level) that is great. However, with most people, they want the opportunity to advance professionally, give them that opportunity and good things will happen with your organization.

One other factor to consider is that if one person is in a given position for an extended period of time and others aren’t exposed to what that one person is doing there are some risks involved. The obvious risk is if something happens to this one person, you most likely don’t have anyone trained or with the exposure to step in and assume the responsibilities. The less obvious risk is when one person has complete control over a certain area, there frequently aren’t checks and balances in place to protect the organization. If this one person is over the accounting department and no one else has access to this department, you are setting up the opportunity for this one person to take liberties with what that department is doing and no one will be in a position to realize this. As an example, if one person is in charge of purchasing, and no one is overseeing this person, it puts that person in a position to accept kick backs, to give contracts to friends and family etc. By exposing multiple people to the various divisions, it lessens the likelihood of this happening.

Look to help your employees advance, whether within your organization or outside and they will reciprocate in kind

Have a great day!

Lawrence

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