More Than A Paycheck

Being a business owner has responsibilities that extend far beyond running the actual business. The paycheck you provide your employees every two weeks helps them live their life. That money also goes back into the local economy as they purchase goods to support their family. Additionally, you have an opportunity to help your employees live a happy life beyond their regular wages.

Money is a tool that can be used to help you enjoy your life. This may be counterintuitive to you, as most would believe the opposite--that money is a source of headaches. A critical way to use money to increase happiness is to buy time. That is, use money to pay someone to do time-sucking activities so you can spend time doing the things you love. One example of this is to hire a lawn mowing service, so you can spend an hour at the park with your spouse and kids instead.

The problem is, simply knowing that money is a tool for good isn’t enough. We humans have a difficult time trading money for time. You may feel that outsourcing certain tasks will make you feel lazy. In today’s culture, being busy helps us feel more important and can be viewed as a sign of higher status. Further, we believe that we will have more time available in the future. We sacrifice time now in hopes of slowing down later.

Where do you the business owner come into this story? You have the ability to help your employees live a happier life. This comes in a few different time-saving areas, as I describe here:

Help your employees save for retirement. First and foremost, you should have a retirement plan available to your employees. Once that is in place, setup employees on auto-enrollment and auto-escalation. Individuals are more likely to stay the course rather than make any changes. By auto-enrolling your employees in the retirement plan, you will increase participation rates. Auto-escalation will automatically increase their contributions by 1% per year without any additional effort. Your employees can opt-out of these options, but are likely to stick with it. This saves your employees time and helps them save for a future retirement.

Give the reward of time, not money. Employers with performance-recognition programs will often offer a menu of ways to redeem rewards. These vary between time-saving services like housekeeping to money-saving items like an Amazon gift card. Even when presented the option of a time-saving service, research shows that employees opt for the money. You can help employees by changing the game. Separate the rewards program so that certain rewards can only be redeemed for time-saving services and other rewards can only be redeemed for money-saving. This will force your employees to redeem the time-saving reward and help them feel less guilty in the process.

Market time as money. As I just described, your employees have a money-first mindset. To help your employees make the most of their benefits package, associate a dollar amount with each offer. When employees understand the nominal value of their vacation time and health care, they are more likely to use it. Time away from the job allows your employees to recharge the batteries and be more productive when they return. It turns out to be a win-win. Your employee is happier and you have a better team member.