Employees Are Valuable

Employees Are Valuable

Some small business websites bug me. I feel like they’re so close… and yet so far. I recently saw an example/testimonial type of thing about outsourcing where the office “manager” (their emphasis) cost them $850 per week and how they outsourced all these tasks much cheaper. Well…as someone who works a secondary (tertiary?) career in admin, I call bullshit.


(What else do I do/have I done? Research, write, cultural heritage management. Things relating to my anthropology degree.)


Do you know what $850 per week is? $44,200 per year. People tell you to avoid clichés in writing but sometimes they’re clichés for a good damn reason.


Peanuts, monkeys…


Look, salary can vary greatly depending on area. All I can speak from is my own experience. And my own experience of job applications and interviews I’ve had many small businesses who want a general admin person to run their business – everything from reception and mail opening through to PA to project management and finance including payroll and BAS/other tax obligations.


In fact, a number of years ago I  applied for a job very similar to that. I had a great chat on the phone to them. A great interview. I had great experience for the large majority of the tasks.


After the interview, I had a phone call to discuss moving forwards with the job and they asked me about my salary expectations. I stated that for a senior administrative position, I would consider an appropriate salary as being $60,000 plus super.


Employees Are Valuable


The phone went silent.


The conversation ended soon after.


I never heard back from them.


Did I lose myself a job? Yep, very clearly I did. Do I care? Not one bit. People need to be able to negotiate salaries and expect to be paid fairly for their experience, duties and responsibilities to a company.


If it was a reception job, sure $45k isn’t bad. But I expect to be paid for the highest skills used in my job, not the lowest.


No regrets.


Possibly the issue in the specific instance was that they didn’t advertise salary. If I had know a reasonable salary wasn’t in mind for them, I wouldn’t have bothered wasting my time applying and going for an interview. I later saw the job advertised again – this time they didn’t have the salary explicitly stated but the search feature had been updated on the job site and it was around that $45k mark. Peanuts, monkeys.


Can we talk about the way the testimonial wrote office “manager”? Well, those inverted commas… talk about devaluing. If the staff member wasn’t up to the job, there are a ton of factors. Were they experienced? Did you make the right hire? What can you do in the future to make sure the person is experienced or qualified enough? Do you give them professional development or training? Maybe they were just shit at their job. But I don’t think that implying that it’s the staff members fault is a good look for the company who did it.


Staff are not a drain on a company. Staff give up their actual hours of lives to work for you. You can earn more money but not more time alive. Staff are there to make you more money. They, and the money you spend on them, are valuable.


Side note: I’m not anti outsourcing, but I think it’s often done wrong (or just because everyone else is doing it – I wish I could elaborate on that but yes, that is a “reason” to do it) and that there is a different type of value gained from a more traditional type of employee. Which is right for you is a decision based on your own circumstances, but I don’t think it’s one people often really think through.


Linking up with My Home Truths & The Multitasking Woman


How do you feel about this? Will you ask for the money that you are worth in a job? Do you think staff are valuable addition or a negative cost to an organisation?


17 Replies to “Employees Are Valuable”

  1. I’m experiencing this a little now as a freelancer (seeking outsourced work). It cuts both ways. I feel I’m worth a decent hourly rate as an experienced writer but when you start talking rates, you always run into differences in expectations on both sides. I’m willing to back my worth (as you are too) but it has cost me jobs. But all employees (whether salaried or contracted) need to be valued and properly compensated for their time, effort and skills.

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      It’s hard, but I see little point in taking on the low value jobs – it’s just taking time away from finding a good job!

  2. I needed to read this today. Often I feel like my work is not valued because they have never had anyone do marketing/social media for them. But I am valuable and I do a good job.

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      It’s incredibly valuable. People must know it otherwise they wouldn’t be looking to hire you for it. Keep up the good work!

  3. Oh my gosh, yes. This especially resonated with me: “Staff give up their actual hours of lives to work for you. You can earn more money but not more time alive.”

    I think employees are no longer seen as people and are asked too much for too little – we do burn out. And we do feel disenchanted which then results in poor productivity.

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      I understand that on a spreadsheet somewhere that it’s prudent to track incomings and outgoings, but I think most finance theories seem to discourage humans being seen as humans.

  4. True this. Employees aren’t always a cost, but an asset as their knowledge and experience can help a business greatly.

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      Exactly. Know the costs from a financial prudence point of view, but don’t apply the thought of a cost to a human being.

  5. It seems that it doesn’t matter what sector there are jobs where you are appreciated and your skills are appreciated and there are those where you are just a number pushed to get a job done.

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      Sadly yes, I wish there was a way to tell before starting a job what people are really like! You can make a guess from interviews but never really know for sure.

  6. I have experienced this many times over and it’s funny, after I’ve left, they’ve very quickly realised how valuable I was and that they weren’t likely paying enough. I have learnt to always ask what I’m worth and if they can’t do that, well then it’s not meant to be.

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      Yes, at least in hindsight the businesses learn.

  7. I have my own business like Kirsty, and find I face the same battles (only more regularly) with negotiating my fees. After 3 years in business, and doing a Cert 4 in in Small Business Management, I think I’m finally asking what I’m worth. It’s a big leap from employee to contractor! The only thing is that the services I provide can also be sourced from Asian countries such as the Philippines where they charge about $3 and hour – and have definitely had potential clients/folk mention this. But as you say, peanuts/monkeys!!!

    1. It’s a hard thing when people say “why pay you when I can pay $3 overseas”. But I wonder how many people really understand the quality aspect. I’m sure not everyone who works for $3/hr is terrible but there are many things with regards to quality and local business standards/customs that people just literally won’t know.

  8. In many cases, the staff can make a business. Customers come back for the wonderful, friendly service. Any business owner who undervalues employees like this are just not very clever, or nice, to put it without using bad language 😉

    1. Exactly!

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