Biblical Perspective on Investing in Business – III



“Invest in truth and wisdom,
 discipline and good sense, and don’t part with them.” -Proverbs 23:23 (CEV)
Investing_moneyThe adage “workers are assets” is true, but for a Christian business owner, it is not the whole truth.

While workers are indeed the engines of returns for most firms, they can also be idle assets for some – unused and are not appreciating in value.

This double-edged nature of people can be a validation why Solomon believed Christians should not depart from investing in truth and wisdom, discipline and good sense.

This is to say that for a Christian business owner to extract the value that people bring into a firm in its fullness, investment in those intangible assets are necessary.

For this third and last part of the article series on Proverbs 23:23, three practical business applications of the verse are deduced, and hopefully, they can be a source of motivation, adaptation, and connection in different business settings:

1.) Include the practice of the three values in your own daily to-do list. Sometimes, business owners are dyed-in-the-wool in implementing the latest in human capital management, but they exclude themselves in the formula. In the 2012 Federal Government Human Capital Survey, results showed that workers’ satisfaction with the policies and practices of their leaders is directly proportional to the level of motivation and commitment the leaders generate from their members. This means that workers are more motivated and committed to the policies of an organization when they are satisfied with the practices of their supervisors.

While money is vital, the survey found that it is not the deciding factor in workers’ engagement. An effective leadership is. When Christian business owners practice their own policies, it is easier for them to encourage their subordinates to do the same. Business owners who implement programs and business models aimed at nurturing the culture of truth/wisdom, discipline and good sense in the firm but would always consider themselves above their own policies are less likely to succeed.

Business owners’ practice of their own rules is probably the cheapest and most effective way to instill the three values on employees. Some firms allocate a certain amount to hire motivational speakers and team-building coaches on a quarterly or yearly basis without realizing that they are their own firm’s motivational force. A daily, costless eight-hour inspiration from supervisors/owners is more strategic than an expensive two-hour motivational talk from a remote speaker.

2.) Include the three values in the firm’s competency model. For some business owners who adhere to a certain competency model, the usual elements in focus are communication skills, customer relations, product knowledge, and critical thinking skills. While these four have roles to play in a business’ lifespan, adding the three values mentioned in Proverbs 23:23 can make the difference.

To ensure that expanding the competency model will not bring extra cost to firm, the owner may opt to apply the standard during the pre-hire assessment. This means that the firm will hire workers who already possess the three values mentioned in Proverbs 23:23. Once these people are hired, the owner/supervisor’s goal is to nurture their own existing values rather than introduce them to the firm’s core values.

According to Thomas O. Davenport, author of Human Capital: What It Is and Why People Invest It, human capital comprises teaching and learning abilities. While a firm can teach, it cannot create learning abilities. The firm can only develop whatever learning ability a worker possesses. Davenport posits that it will be strategic for a firm to hire workers who already have the passion to learn. For a Christian business owner, hiring people who already value truth/wisdom, discipline and good sense is encouraged.

3.) Include the three values in the firm’s formal training and informal learning plans. Organization-sponsored trainings, either on-the-job or in schools, should also be explored by the firm. According to Training magazine, United States-based companies spent $55.8 billion for training in 2012. The figure was inclusive of payroll and spending on external products and services. It is vital to note that while trainings are essential, they do not need to be costly to the detriment of the firm’s treasury. As a matter of fact, a Christian small business owner who dutifully practices the first two approaches mentioned in this article may not need to spend thousands of dollars for organization-sponsored trainings.

Indeed, workers are assets. However, they are neither passive vessel nor will appreciate in value in and of themselves. They are active. They have interest, values, strengths, and weaknesses. They need role models. They need motivation. Thus, even if they are subject to training after training, they may not add value to the firm. For Christian business owners, introducing their workers in the practice of truth and wisdom, discipline and good sense through personal walk, competency model, and trainings can pave for profits that last a lifetime.

To read the first part of this article series, click here and for the second part, check this link.



Photo Credit: 401(K) 2013

Originally published at © 2013, The Center for Christian Business Ethics Today. All Rights Reserved.

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