Financial Data
Updated 15 Oct 2019


Where do you lie on the cost vs benefit equation?

Calculating the quantifiable benefit of your employees.


Su-Mari du Bruyn, 22 June 2016  Share  0 comments  Print


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My question is usually met with laughter when I ask people whether they would pay a mechanic R10 000 for doing absolutely nothing to their car. People think this is a ludicrous question, yet when next I ask them to list the value that they add in exchange for their monthly salary, that same room goes quiet when they realise that their contribution does not seem to match or exceed what they are costing the business in monthly salary alone.

Many people go through their entire career, thinking that they are not getting paid enough, but if they cannot prove that they add more value than cost to the business, how do they expect the people in charge of salary decisions to notice it?

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Many managers allocate performance ratings that have salary implications without any consideration for this equation, not realising that in essence what they are doing is exactly the same as paying a mechanic for doing absolutely nothing to their car.

When looking at the benefit you add, you can to take into account new profitable sales brought on board, cost saving opportunities identified and implemented, wastes reduced, quality issues controlled and risks avoided.

Employees often consider these to be examples of “going the extra mile” when they should in fact be a standard part of any job description in a healthy organisational culture. Every employee should be focused on how they can be making the business better. 

If they apply the same attitude as the owner whose pocket is directly affected by every decision and action, their actions may look significantly different from working just to get a pay cheque.

When looking at the cost vs benefit equation you should not forget to include the indirect costs. If you use water, enjoy a cup of coffee or tea for free, use the company telephone for private calls, enjoy an employee discount or are sent for training that the company pays for; these are all additional expenses that you should be taking into consideration.

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The same is true if the company needs to make use of a temp to stand in for you while you are on leave or your peers have to work overtime to make up for your absence.

The most important question to ask and answer honestly is; “where do you and your team members lie on the cost vs benefit equation?” And to undertake to do your best in future to ensure the benefits you add always exceed the cost of having you (as an employee or member of the team?) That way keeping you around (on board?) will always be a wise investment that makes good business sense. 

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About the author


Su-Mari du Bruyn

Su-Mari Du Bruyn is a corporate motivation speaker and has spoken at multiple enterprises ranging from staff self-esteem issues, how to plan and set goals, to how to self-motivate.

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