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Keeping an Eye on Low-Value Work

The distinction between low-value work and high-value work is important. Low-value work is necessary work that has to be done. High-value work is work that gives your client a competitive advantage.

Low-value work is ticket-to-play, you must not do it wrong. Some examples of low-value work are getting payrolls out correctly the first time, making sure everything is in line when you are doing benefits administration, and that the deductions coming out of payroll are correct. That is work that clients expect and it’s in your back office. They don’t really care that it gets done better, they just want it done right. There’s a “Don’t get it wrong” mentality with low-value work, but doing it better isn’t going to get you anything either. For low-value work, good enough is good enough.

High-value work, on the other hand, is work that gives your customer a competitive advantage. They define that value and you get paid for that value – that’s work that you should be spending time on making sure you are meeting the clients’ expectations. Some examples of high-value work are giving them recommendations on what their benefit should be or presenting options of how to retain and attract the best possible workforce. If competitive advantage is a lower cost for them because they can spend the money, you can use that as high-value as well.

So high-value work gives your client an advantage and low-value work is a ticket to play. You’ve got to make sure that you are spending your money on the things that give high-value to your clients while still making sure you are providing that lower value work in the most efficient, cost effective way you can.

Role model companies have a relentless push toward these two things. They do everything they can to make sure that low-value work is being done at the quality that’s required, which means not overdoing it, but rather doing it at the lowest cost possible while still being done right. Then, they spend every dollar they can making sure the high-value work is being done to standards that meet or exceed clients’ expectations. That translates to into revenue retention and growth, no doubt about it. A company must understand the difference or die.


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