Adding Value: The Science of Getting Rich in Human Resources…

By Alan Collins

In this article, I’m going to talk about a taboo topic.

You’re not supposed to talk PUBLICLY about how to make a lot of money or how to get rich in HR.

Some “professional” HR folks consider it unseemly and politically incorrect. However, in this article I’ve violated this unspoken rule.

So, let’s jump right in.

The Science of Getting Rich in HR can be summarized in exactly 15 words and 3 simple steps.

Before you scroll down to read what those words and steps are, there are two confessions I want to make:

Confession #1: 
The title of this article is not entirely mine.

It comes from the title of a book called The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace Wattles and was originally written in 1910.

I discovered it wandering around an old book store a few weeks ago and just picked it up.

Those 15 words were hidden in one of the book’s chapters.

I’m not going do a detailed review of the book. That’s not the point here.  However, the book is definitely worth checking out.

Confession #2:
Although this book was not written specifically for HR pros, the “15 word rule” contained within it will impact your HR career in a positive way.

If you embrace the idea behind these 15 words, you’ll definitely make more money in HR…or at the very least, you’ll earn a lot more than those tiny little 2% annual merit increases on your day job.

I have absolutely no doubt about that.

With all that said, here are those 15 words that sum up the entire science of making more money…or even getting rich in HR…

Give every man more in USE VALUE than
you take from him in CASH VALUE.
– Wallace Wattles

That’s it.

The entire foundation of advancing your career in HR can be summed up in those 15 words.

Confused?  Then, let’s cut to the chase.  These words were written in 1910.  Their meaning is important.  However, in today’s world they need to be translated.

So what this simple little 15-word statement is saying to you as an HR professional is the following… 

The secret to making more money faster in HR is to look for ways to
add MASSIVE AMOUNTS of value to your clients and 
to your
organization.  And then doing it consistently!

Yes, I know “adding value” is one of the most popular HR buzzwords on the planet.

This word gets the same ho-hum reaction as when HR folks say they’re “strategic” or “business partners.”

Since everyone babbles them, these words have lost their meaning, are viewed as pure B.S. and are ignored.

As a result, most HR folks are absolutely clueless about what “adding value” is REALLY all about.

So let me clarify…


Or let me state this differently…

Here’s the deal:  If you are not delivering more of the EXACT type of value to your organization or your clients WANT… and if you are not making yourself indispensable to them every day…then you are DECLINING in value to them.

That’s a fact.

Furthermore, in many large organizations, there are entire departments of HR pros doing the very same jobs (with different clients), the same way year after year.  And they are shocked beyond belief when poor client feedback, new technology, outsourcing or some other “restructuring” or “productivity” flavor-of-the-month eliminates their job.

Every one of these people has one distinctive attribute in common: from one year to the next, they have NOT taken any initiative to deliver more value in their work…or to increase their own value.

Let me go even further, if someone important is not telling you — to your face — that what you’re contributing is, in fact, advancing the business proposition of the organization, then you are creating questions about whether you should be in that HR job…or whether that job is really needed!

So adding MORE and REAL value is critical.

Want to really know how to do it and make more money in the process?

Then let me suggest three simple steps…


Step 1:
Pinpoint the results your clients or
your organization want most.

These could be areas where your organization is at a competitive disadvantage…or results that your key clients have been complaining to you most about.

For example, it could be:
• Improving the retention of top talent.
• Cost savings or cutting overhead.
• Getting more or higher quality job candidates.
• Improving customer service.
• Improving the results from the sales force.
• Lack of talent in some regions.
• Changing the skill mix of the workforce.
• Moving work to lower cost areas of the country.
• Improving teamwork between two functions at war.
• Spreading best practices internally.
• Expanding the online presence of the company.
• Reducing overtime, tardiness or sick leave usage.

Or any one of hundreds of other gaps, pain points or opportunities.

That then leads you to…


Step 2:
Pick one of these outcomes,
put a metric
to it & develop strategies to improve it.

Let’s say your organization’s biggest priority is cost savings.  HR strategies you could develop and implement here could include:

You can definitely measure or apply metrics to the bolded statements above.

But the remarkable thing is that once you’ve helped improve any of those metrics — you’ve added value!


It is this ability to successfully and measurably implement these types of REAL  improvements or solutions — that address big organization problems — that will truly elevate you to top earner status.

I believe doing this is one of the fastest ways of building your wealth.

But don’t over-complicate it.

Here’s the reality:

And to capitalize on this potential demand for your services, it’s imperative that you take one final step, which is…


Step 3:
Update your resume every year by
documenting the value you’ve added.

Don’t underestimate the value of this step.

Take some time to religiously keep track of and update your measurable achievements and the value you’ve added on your resume.

Do this on a regular basis.  At least annually.  And it will enhance your resume’s value in the marketplace and your attractiveness to recruiters.

Think about how more powerful your resume would be if you were to add this new entry to it at the end of the year:

“As HR director for the IT group, because of two new culture building
initiatives we put in place, our culture survey results improved by 25%,
IT turnover dropped from 12% to 6% and our overtime
costs went down by $1.2 million or 4%.”

Now that’s adding real value.

And, when you’re able to enhance your resume with this kind of achievement every year, making money faster in HR…and even ultimately getting rich in HR…will not be a problem.

I know by now I’ve beaten a dead horse on this, but I really want to drive this point home…

To Earn Make More Money in HR or Even Get
Rich, Simply Figure Out A Way To
TRIPLE THE VALUE You Are Giving Right Now
To Your Employer, Customers, Clients,
Boss or Colleagues!

If you do this, I predict with absolute confidence that one of the following will happen:

1. Your present employer will respond with raises, bonuses and advancement opportunities well beyond your expectations.

2. A new employer (or one of your company’s competitors) will find you, grab you, immediately recognize how you can help them and hike up your pay by a minimum of 10%, but probably more.

3. You’ll discover a lucrative entrepreneurial opportunity that allows you to develop and package your skills (or the value you add that organizations care about) in such a way that they will beat a path to your door – hiring you as their consultant, their coach, or their trainer teaching their staffs — and you’ll move on to writing your own paycheck and being your own boss.

So, the next time someone asks you: “How can I get more than just the same token 2% raise that everybody else is getting?”

You can reply quickly by suggesting that they go find a full-length mirror, sit down in a chair facing it, stare deeply into his or her own eyes and ask: “What can I do to overwhelm my clients with VALUE and improve the RESULTS my organization CARES MOST ABOUT?”

Though I didn’t think about until now, my goal is to live up to that statement in whatever I do…including every single blog post I write.

I’m not always successful in doing this.

But I sure hope this blog post added value.

Let me know…by providing your comments and additional insights on this article by clicking HERE.



Want more ideas for adding MORE value and moving your HR career forward, then check out:  WINNING BIG IN HR: 100+ Powerful Strategies For Accomplishing Great Results Faster & Getting Your Clients To Rave About You As A Human Resources Professional!   For more detailed information about this book, go HERE.


…Or if you’re a new HR leader who wants to avoid the painful  traps that stand in the way of your success, then check out:  THE NEW HR LEADER’S FIRST 100 DAYS: How To Start Strong, Hit The Ground Running & ACHIEVE SUCCESS FASTER As A New Human Resources Manager, Director and VP.  You can get more details HERE.

About the author: Alan Collins is Founder of Success in HR, Inc. and the author of a variety of best selling books for HR professionals including WINNING BIG IN HR and THE NEW HR LEADER’S FIRST 100 DAYS. He was formerly Vice President – Human Resources at PepsiCo where he led HR initiatives for their Quaker Oats, Gatorade and Tropicana businesses.

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22 Responses to “Adding Value: The Science of Getting Rich in Human Resources…”

  1. Neville Smith Says:

    Thank you Alan. Your interpretation to those 15 words from the past (1910), were an eye opener to me. Coz I’ve been working on something similar, not knowing were to start and how to articulate it. You gave me the right kind of clue that i was looking for. My new mantra is gonna be to ask my self what REAL value have i added to my clients and organization. Please added my email to your blog so that I could receive updates every time you blog something different(

    Thanks & Regards
    Neville Smith

  2. Sebastian Igwe Says:

    Grateful for this and all very interesting and educative piece of articles you have always shared with your readers.

  3. Tamara Says:

    This is amazing information. Thank you


  4. Anny Says:

    Great article.

  5. Obaro Says:

    Awesome .. Thank you

  6. Rattan Says:

    Always great sir

  7. ella tatel Says:

    As always, great information. Thanks.

  8. Viki Says:

    Hi Alen,
    I’m happy you found the book and hope you have a chance to read Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich”, E Coue’s “Self-mastery”. Many modern courses, self-help books propagating ‘quick’ successes in different areas of our lives are based on them, but I suppose it doesn’t matter where the ideas come from as long as we are taught how to do things right. Religious people might discover that these books are aligned with the values our holy men and holy books preach.
    Thanks for highlighting how important it is to take time and contemplate on what we’ve read, mirror ourselves to understand who we really are, define our goals and what we need to do to reach them, plan, do, review, improve… every day. Many successful men/women in legal businesses have not read these books and have done well nevertheless. They might have been brought up in families where similar values were taught or have been inspired along the way – whatever the case – they have all followed some of the eternal truths defined in the books. Many humanitarians have asked for the ideas presented in the books to be taught at all schools as part of mandatory curriculum and I’d add that if the schools are not ready for this task yet, we might consider teaching these things to children at home.
    Coming back to your proposal to implement the values in HR (there is a paragraph on this also in T&GR), I believe it would be a splendid idea. Having read the books HR might share the knowledge with the owners, managers, union leaders … all those who are in the position of power and seem not to be aware/practice the values. Recruiters might end up finding better applicants for their companies, T&D team might improve the company courses, employee and management evaluation could be taken to new heights, etc. People who get things done or who come up with solutions how to make things happen – real achievers – are scarce and should be multiplied. They cannot do it by themselves, they need help and HR could and should play a very important role in this.
    Let me add that both books are available as e-books format and in MP3 also, so even if someone claims he/she doesn’t have time to read, does not have more space in their luggage, h/s might consider listening to them while traveling.
    Enjoy reading and welcome to the club.

  9. Shybria Says:


    Thank you for sharing.

  10. Dorette Brownlee Says:

    This article and suggestions related to being a HR leader is incredibly simple and groundbreaking. Thanks for sharing your wisdom and learning beyond mere words and truly quantifying how adding to the strategies and overall value can make a difference.

  11. Dan Says:

    could not agree more. Excellent information. Well written. Thank you.

  12. Viplove Vishwas Says:

    Thanks Alan,
    Step 1 & 3 are really great!

  13. Joel Favour Says:

    Hi Sir Alen,
    Great information you presented to us. I really have gotten a phrase guide to keep in mind. That I should always ask myself what true values have I added and improved on my clients in relation to the goals and cares of the organization. Thank you so much, it helped alot.

  14. Jan Prinsloo Says:

    Hi Alan
    excellent article for business and personal application. This topic always gets discussed and the replies always struck me as people dont know what they dont know.
    This is very practical and I am already busy with the implementation for myself.
    Thanks again

  15. Vivi-Lillian Says:

    I agree 100%!!!

  16. Priyo Kumer Says:

    Excellent Alan. Thanking for sharing this

  17. Diana Says:

    Thank you Alan, very useful information and advice. It is worth re-reading and having it as a consistent guiding reminder towards personal and organisational success.

  18. william K Birech Says:

    Thank you very much more so on culture transformation and reform. I really appreciate the strategies and methods of the whole process.

  19. April D Halliburton Says:

    As always Alan! Excellent Information!!! Thank you so much!

  20. Kathleen Ferguson Says:

    This write up added value to me. Thank you.

  21. Nike Y. Says:

    Thank you for sharing, Alan. Your blogs and articles are usually very edifying. Well appreciated.

  22. Archana Walikar Says:

    Thank you for sharing this blog. This has definitely added value to me.