Are your staff really your greatest asset?

Staff can be a pivotal part of an organisation but they can also be one of the greatest costs and challenges.

Studies show that the price tag of losing an employee is between 70% and 200% of the person’s remuneration. Plus “brain drain”, they note, can have serious effects on a company’s bottom line.

With such high stakes, why do companies still use the line “people are our greatest asset” so often? As an HBR article points out, people are not your greatest asset – it’s how you empower them that is.

So how can your business better empower and, in turn, appreciate the value of your assets?

Begin by recognising business performance issues

It’s important to see a behaviour shift in order to have employees feel valued and managers see the value of their employees. Since most business performance issues start with behaviour, it’s important to:

  • Clarify what people are expected to do to achieve results
  • Develop appropriate communication and relationship skills to sustain those results
  • Define and reinforce appropriate behaviour

Each business is unique but we often come across similar issues such as conflict between teams that have a negative impact on productivity or reaction to change. As you read through common ailments faced by our clients listed below, can you recognise any similarities that need to be addressed in your business?

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(Click on an issue to go straight to the situation, action, and outcome.)

Managers too busy “doing the doing” to take time out for managing, reviewing performance, or addressing issues

busy managerSituation

The two Directors of Company X were working extended hours and having to undertake a lot of operations work because staff were not capable of doing things without being supervised. They couldn’t find time to undertake a review of their current position, do long-term planning, train staff, or address non-performance issues. Most of the company knowledge was in their heads which created a high risk for sustainability of the company.


Through implementing our PIPE – Profit Improvement through Performance Enhancement – process we were able to:

  • Clearly define what each role needed to contribute to company results
  • Upskill managers to define expectations then communicate, reinforce, and monitor
  • Capture company knowledge, record it, and transfer it to others
  • Multi-skill employees to provide support and backup
  • Communicate the purpose of the company, team, and individual roles
  • Use the TetraMap® of Planning to develop a strategic plan


The challenge was to break the cycle, get them off the treadmill, and upskill the staff. Now they are down to 45 – 50 hour weeks and their staff are more competent, confident, and satisfied in their work. Profit has improved and everyone now understands where the company is going and what is needed to get there.

Conflict within or between teams that impacts productivity


A small team had two members who did not get along and their relationship was deteriorating. Since one person joined the team 6 months ago, the personality differences had impacted the culture and productivity of the whole team as well as the service delivery. After the resignation of another team member because of the hostile environment, senior management knew something had to be done.


Through a workshop with the whole team using the TetraMap® of Behaviour as a framework, each team member increased their:

  • awareness of their own behaviour and impact on others
  • understanding of why and how others are different
  • acceptance of responsibility for relating effectively within the workplace


Although the two team members still don’t particularly like each other, they now accept their responsibility to work together cordially and the team dynamics have altered to produce an effective and efficient team.

Different perceptions between team leader and team members on what “good looks like here”


An employee was feeling very frustrated because of what she perceived as “micromanaging” by her manager and constant changes in the directions of how to do things. Her Team Leader was equally frustrated by her perception that this person did not follow instructions and could not be relied on to deliver the quality of work required.


  • Re-clarified roles, responsibilities, and expected outcomes
  • Established reporting and monitoring processes that both parties understood
  • Coached the Team Leader in how to manage performance


Reduced frustration, improved performance, and opportunities for both parties to develop in their roles. This increased the outputs of the individual and the team.

Dealing with resistance to change


In response to changes in the business environment, the Board of Directors had decided several roles needed to be adapted. In particular, it was important for all staff to be multi-skilled to provide back-up cover and support in the office. The changes were not significant but required a slightly different way of working. Half the team were open to the changes but the other half focused on how difficult it would be, how much more work they would need to do, and how it would not be beneficial for customers.


We took the team away from the workplace and used the TetraMap® of Teamwork to create a clear understanding of:

  • how the business worked and what it needed to be sustainable
  • what the company and team goals were
  • how each role contributed to results
  • clear communication channels to provide transparency during the change
  • how the team could work together collaboratively and create synergy
  • what was in it for the business, the team, and the individuals

Actions and agreements from the team workshop were reviewed and reinforced on an ongoing basis to ensure long-term behaviour change.


Once the whole team understood, accepted, and bought into the changes there was a marked increase in the quality and quantity of outputs. Several of the resistant team members recommended valuable improvements to workflow.

Get in touch today!

Here at Jan Alley & Associates, we understand that an organisation has three sets of resources – Financial, Physical, and Human – and that a manager’s role is to allocate and utilise those resources to deliver results. We work with you to improve the people part of the business to achieve the best possible results from human resources.

If you recognise issues in your workplace that need to be addressed to get the most out of your people, give us a call today on 09-579-8566 or email me.


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