Proposing routine maintenance for … employees?

Cartoon image of three service techs with toolsYour company takes care of the things it owns.

The office HVAC system gets regular inspections. Computer hardware and software are upgraded and scanned for problems. Potholes in the parking lot are patched and resurfaced. Manufacturing equipment is routinely overhauled and serviced. Security systems are maintained.

And so on.

We wouldn’t dream of ignoring holes in the roof or keeping outdated, unsupported software on company computers. We would never skip maintenance on expensive equipment or allow critical files to be unsecured.

But what about the people?

People are any organization’s most valuable asset. And while many organizations pay lip service to this concept, sadly few follow through.

What holes are you ignoring in your staffing? How are you making sure skills are up to date? What institutional knowledge is at risk when high-performing employees seek other opportunities? Why are those employees leaving? What’s the bottom-line impact of employee turnover?

How much are you losing because you’re not conducting routine maintenance on your employee population?

Perhaps that sounds dehumanizing – implying that the individuals on your payroll need maintenance, as if they were a piece of mechanical equipment or part of your physical plant. But way too many companies are better at maintaining their physical assets than they are at supporting their people.

Does your company demonstrate the importance of their employees? Or is it just lip service? What, specifically, does your company do to show that supporting, training, coaching, and leading matters?

Perhaps your company is outstanding at all of that.

Or perhaps not. Because this is a whole lot more than annual satisfaction surveys, suggestion boxes, or public statements of support for diversity and inclusion.

What’s needed?

What do you, as an individual employee, need in order to have more fun and find more meaning in your work?

What do you, as a leader, need in order to be better at supporting your team members, your peers, and your boss?

Looking at the company as a whole, what needs do you see going unanswered?

Get specific

To be successful in presenting your case – whether it’s to executive leadership, HR, or your immediate manager – you must be clear and specific.

What, specifically, is the need? What, specifically, should be done to address it? What are the costs involved in leaving things as they are? What are the costs of the action you’re recommending?

Remember that the human brain takes loss far more seriously than gain. It is far better to not lose $100 than it is to gain $100. So emphasize what’s being lost because this “routine maintenance” for employees isn’t happening. (To calculate the cost of attrition, download the employee replacement costs spreadsheet.)

Present your case

Prepare a short executive-summary style explanation of the problem and your solution. Don’t overwhelm your audience with the details of your research or why you think this is important. You need to grab their attention right up front with what matters to them, and a long introduction won’t do that.

If you do a good job with that executive summary, they’ll ask questions. So have the details ready to back up your request.

What if they say “no”?

Invest in your own maintenance.

It’s your career that’s at stake.


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Wondering what leadership development plan might be good for you? Take a look at the Empowered Leadership program.


gljudson Management & Leadership, Strategic thinking