Ashley was surprised, to say the least, that her boss had good news and invited her to stop by his office for a few minutes before she left her shift.  As she stepped around the corner to his station, he said that he had a good report.  As he began to share what was going on, Ashley quickly began to sense what he was talking about.  The company wanted to support her education to help her finish her degree in electrical engineering.  Ashley was floored.  Her boss gave her a form to fill out and instructions on how to turn in her receipts for tuition, books/supplies, and fees.  As she reached for her phone to text her husband the good news, she thought to herself, “this is the first time a company has ever wanted to help me like this”   

Will had received an email from his company’s HR/Benefits Department that he had hit his one-year anniversary.  Company swag, a form letter, and a new work shirt was what he was expecting, but as he read on through the email, he was pleasantly surprised that the company was willing to send him to one of the leading trade conferences in his industry, which would lead him to become an apprentice.  Within five years, he could double his pay rate, gain incredible skills and experience, and be able to be established as a lead technician.   

I hear stories like these when I visit companies around the country.  They illustrate a principle called Leadership Investment.   

When a company reaches into their own pocket to benefit their employees, the company reaps a harvest as well.   

Various complexities of the daily grind and operating a business, supervising a team, or managing a project can be a burden.  Everything from timeliness, budget restrictions to safety and employee retention can make it feel like investing in others as much as they would like is not realistic.  It’s easy to think this way too.  After all, many of us are recovering from the pandemic and trying to rethink employment, the critical mass of orders, and a lack of supplies.    Be careful with this mindset, it might just be a failing point for your company.   

Why should you invest in your employees?  

  1.  The excessive cost of employee turnover- 

It’s common knowledge that replacing team members is pricy (and dicey).  Some can spend up to double the amount each year with hiring and onboarding that could have been spent on product management or networking and marketing.   

  •  Talent Misdirection – 

Imagine employee efforts hampered and production lines being shortened because good employee assessments, training material and other onboarding measures are not in place.  It’s happening all around the world; companies are misdirecting team members throughout their organization with a lot of collateral damage.  It’s wasting your company’s resources.  

  •  A lack of loyalty – 

Employees under the age of 29 are willing to accept a lower rate of pay if the values of the organization closely mirror their own.  A company that invests in the growth of others seeks to understand their team members and incorporates their values into the organization.  This type of leadership behavior fosters loyalty and commitment. 

  •  Talent attraction and acquisition- 

When companies invest in the growth of their employees, these individuals will share the benefits with their friend groups and professional networking platforms.  LinkedIn boasts of the hiring trends for companies that support leadership investment.  The proof is in the pudding.   

  •  Companies that retain employees have a high regard for motivation-  

In some cases, companies have seen a huge percentage hike in their employee erosion simply because they have a hard time keeping their employees motivated and moving forward on mission.  Collaboration, problem-solving, open communication, teamwork, and employee happiness are exchanged for a top-down leadership strategy that strangulates team members.  Companies that don’t invest in others usually lead to micromanagement or worse, self-managing tactics.   

  •  Increased teamwork and a successful camaraderie- 

When company leaders invest in building one another up and having an enjoyable work experience (yes, when they have fun) work productivity goes up. Why not invest in meeting at the country club for an old-fashioned game of Bunco while having snacks? Is it time to celebrate a long overdue achievement? Why not throw a party during the conference many of your team members will be attending? If you build a better team environment, make space for fun, success will make its way into your group.  

  •  Effective Customer Service- 

The principle of a successful customer service experience is still the same after all these years:  positive representation, listening and engagement, authentic self, and any amount of advertising.  If we invest in our employees to have these skills, the result is more satisfied customers.   

Creating a strategic plan for investing in the personal and professional development is essential for success. 

Making a positive impact makes room for promotable employees. Here are some suggestions:   

  • Provide a set of revised vocational trainings that work for your team 
  • Invite a motivational speaker into a series of staff meetings to share stories and principles of invigoration and influence at home and work that will translate into a better work life balance. 
  • Promote from within more by bringing in a personal mentor/coach work to encourage management skills
  • Invite team members to share openly in a staff meeting- a time of listening for company leaders to hear stories about what’s happening in the field, on the manufacturing floor, and in the ideation labs.   
  • Create a plan to come alongside 1-3 team members each year in accomplishing a personal goal.  (Helping a family become debt-free by providing assistance for a graduate degree tuition, send a couple to a marriage retreat, start a company wide fund for adoption assistance, purchase a series of counseling appointments for individuals). 
  • Purchase a leadership book for every team member and invite them to a volunteer study group, that after completing, they receive a special award.  (This idea works great if you are looking to discover untapped talent already in your company).   

When companies invest into the people they have already hired, they catalyze change for the personal and professional trajectory of these individuals.  

As team members experience (top line) personal growth and professional advancement, the results will always be increased company sales, innovation of new ideas, and elevated employees- and that’s good for the bottom line.