Why Investing in Your People Now can have a Great Return Later
Countless companies treat employees like a replaceable part, who is only there to complete a function. Understandably, employees leave companies where they feel mistreated, or as if their worth and hard work is not recognised. Not only does this create a toxic work environment, but it can also incur considerable business costs to find and replace workers of a similar skill level, especially if this is a repeated occurrence.
If you think you’re following this trend then read these tips in order to figure not only how to save your company money, but why investing in your people can improve your business returns in the long run.
Train Them Well, Treat Them Better, Keep Them Longer
What separates people from machines, is our ability to think. A machine is able to repeat the same action over and over, with very little rest. What a machine cannot do, however, is make a decision for itself.
Richard Branson once said, “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to”. This is a man who recognises the value an individual can have to his business. Employees who are well trained can be hugely beneficial to your business, whether it’s cutting down development time, being more productive throughout the day, or offering new and innovative ideas.
Of course, some may argue that if an employee is well trained there’s nothing from stopping them from leaving, which only increases your costs. But most people don’t operate like that. Typically, if you invest in someone, make them feel valued, and show them that you believe in them they won’t want to leave. Instead, what you’ll end up with is a loyal employee who works harder and cares about their work.
While there are still people who will try and take advantage, they’re in the minority. Plus, you may even find that having them in your workforce was detrimental to productivity. Instead, focus on those that have stayed with the company for a prolonged period.
A Better Reputation Brings Better Workers
Imagine you’re looking for a job, and you have to choose between two. They’re both offering the same role, with similar pay in similar places. Which would you choose?
It seems obvious, and it is. The one with a better reputation. If when comparing two businesses, you see that one puts effort into helping its employees grow, while the other has a high turnover, you would understandably choose the one who’ll help you improve.
The way you run your business should be the same. By investing in your employees, you’ll start to earn a reputation as a good business to work for. This, in turn, will attract better employees to apply for prospective jobs with you. As we’ve already established, better employees produce a better quality of work. In turn, this should attract more business, and bring you more money. It may seem convoluted but treating your employees well breeds success.
Recognise Who Does Work Hard
No matter how much time and effort you put into people, there are those who simply won’t succeed because they don’t want to. There are underperformers in every business, and it’s important to recognise who they are and why they don’t perform.
Once you know these two things, it becomes easier to reward the employees who do work hard and figure out if there’s something you can do to motivate the underperformers. If there isn’t then your best bet is to simply let them go. The longer they stay and get away with doing the bare minimum, the more likely employees who do work hard will get disheartened and stop performing.
Once you’ve removed the underperforming workers, you’ll have created room to hire more dedicated employees. By focusing on filling your workforce with people who want to be there, you should find that productivity increases and your business becomes more profitable.
Moving Up Instead of Out
One of the biggest reasons employees leave a business is because they feel as if they can’t progress anymore. This is when a rival is able to snatch them up and benefit from the time and money you’ve invested into that employee. So how do you prevent that from happening?
By promoting them.
If an employee sees a viable ladder of progression, they’re going to aim for it. Whether it’s a bigger desk, a better salary or a new job title, people want to feel as if they’re achieving something. So provide them with that. Show them that you care about the work they produce and the value they bring to your business. If you constantly overlook a brilliant employee for a promotion, and instead bring in people from outside the company, they won’t stay a brilliant employee for long.
If they’re genuinely not ready for the position, then let them know why and what they can do to try and secure it next time. Besides, promoting current employees is considerably cheaper than getting in someone external.
They’re Full of Fresh Ideas
If you invest in your employees, ultimately, they’re going to care about the business. When they care about the business, they’re going to have ideas about what could be improved and how, or other potential avenues the business could follow. You must cultivate these people.
The world is constantly changing. Updates, both cultural and technological, are now a regular occurrence. How better to keep your business ahead of the curve than by employing the ideas of the younger generation?
Not every idea will be viable for your business, or there may be circumstances they’re unaware of due to their position. If you don’t dismiss it out of hand, and instead are open and provide feedback on why their idea doesn’t work, this can help them produce better ideas in the long run.
Make Them Work For It
As the saying goes “give someone an inch and they will take a mile”, it is unwise to simply offer everything on a silver platter. People, as individuals, have limited respect for something that they didn’t work hard to achieve. The same goes for opportunities in the workplace. This may sound contradictory to the previous points, but you shouldn’t simply offer something just because someone is there.
Instead, you’re better off setting a goal for them to reach, with an idea of the reward at the end. This way, once they’ve proved themselves dedicated and earned that investment of time and money, then offer them additional opportunities.
A Better Bottom Line
It doesn’t matter what area your business is in, the primary objective is to make money. If it’s a customer-facing business, that means your employees have to deal with the general public. If your employee feels like the business doesn’t care about them or how they perform, then they won’t care about providing your customers with the best experience possible.
Alternatively, a worker who feels important and respected will make sure they provide customers with the best experience possible. This then leads to a happier customer, repeat business, and consequently brings a higher revenue to the company. That happy customer may even go on to tell their friends about the service they received, which only further compounds upon the company’s revenue.
Aside from attempting to save money, there is very little reason to avoid investing in your employees. Considering that this only prevents you from making money, your best bet is to treat your employees like the beating heart of your business. Without them, it simply wouldn’t run.
And those are our reasons why investing in your people can result in a great return for your business. With that in mind, do you already use any of these tactics? If not, how will you try to implement them?