Pro HR

It’s Great to be an Employer

I decided a celebration of the good things about being an employer was in order. These things apply whether you own your own business or you manage someone else’s business.

I am often asked why anyone would want to work in HR – with a clear implication that it involves a lot of unpleasant ‘stuff’ no-one likes doing. This is partly true, but it’s not all bad by any means.

On other occasions, when I have been a self- employed consultant and I have been asked why I haven’t employed staff to help with the workload, I have cynically replied that I know all about employment and why would anyone be an employer? We can become a bit jaded if we have been through some tough employment issues of late but let’s not forget the positives. I decided a celebration of the good things about being an employer was in order. These things apply whether you own your own business or you manage someone else’s business.

At the highest level every person you employ and every wage you pay is a vital contribution to our economy and society in many ways. You, personally and directly, have improved our employment statistics. You have boosted the tax take that funds so many great things like health, education and our national infrastructure.

Closer to home, at a very practical level, you are feeding the families of your employees, paying the bills, and building homes. If you provide health insurance you may have helped your employees in a time of real need. If you have EAP or other wellbeing initiatives you are helping people to be well and live better and stay in better shape for their loved ones. Over the long term you are helping your employees save for their retirement (it doesn’t matter that it’s compulsory).

When you recruit, train and develop people you are developing their skills, their confidence, and their career. Sometimes this includes supporting them to step outside your organisation to continue their growth. You are providing opportunities that will lead them down all sorts of pathways to bright futures. It is satisfying to share our knowledge and experience and enthusiasm for our respective field with those coming behind us. You often learn something from them as well – most likely an app on your phone you’d never heard of, and if you’re lucky some insights into how they see your organisation that are pure gold.

Even when you provide casual holiday jobs to tertiary students which helps your business at a busy time, you are powering the next generation of employees to start their employment journey. When you employ part time school students on the weekend you are teaching them life skills, work habits and team behaviours that will help them find their first ‘real’ job.

When you create a team, small or large, you are bringing people together and creating all kinds of connections that enrich their lives. In the workplace your employees develop friendships that last a lifetime. They connect with people who become their flatmates, sports team-mates, car pool buddies, or mentors.

Depending on the jobs you can offer and the industry you are in you may be providing your employees with a purpose and an opportunity to make a difference to others or to our world. That’s a pretty cool reason to be an employer.

You are most likely helping the people who work for you to fulfil their dreams – whether that is doing their dream job or perhaps saving money to achieve their dream – a house, overseas travel, or a car.

Employment is not just a transaction where we are trading work for money – it’s a relationship that can enrich your life and your employees’ lives. Be proud to be an employer. Celebrate the good times for your own sake as well as your staff. When times are tough and you have to make the hard calls remember all the good you are doing, every single day.