We get it. There’s always a pile of work to be done at your company, and you’re only just managing to run things with the limited resources at your disposal. Surely, you can’t fund your employees’ skills acquisiton, or afford to let them off a while for training programs. Or can you?
But consider what this would mean for your business: the same old ideas and practices; increasingly archaic products and service; a stale brand, stagnancy; and ultimately, irrelevance. In today’s fast paced, rapidly changing world, this would be akin to shooting oneself in the foot.
Running on a small budget certainly constrains your staff development options, as does tightly packed work schedules. However, there’s always a way to make the most of the little you do have. Because investing in your employees (or yourself) is vital to the growth of your business, it’s important that you explore and use the best possible means of strengthening your workers’ ability and commitment to doing their jobs. The good news is, you don’t always need money or a lot of time to achieve this.
Why you should invest in your staff
Your company is as good as the people working in it. If they’re great at what they do, the quality will shine through in your services and customer patronage. If they aren’t up to the job, it’ll show in your business’s subpar output.
Here are some other reasons why you should be investing in your staff:
- Stay in touch with evolving skills requirement. These days, business ‘best practices’ are being altered all the time. Keeping up with the pace of this evolution can be really hard work. But it does pay to have your employees sharpen their skills in acordance with the changing demands of business.
- Make your workers more efficient: With the right training and encouragement, your employees will be able to do better quality work with the same (or a smaller amount) of time and other resources. By investing in them, you could actually be saving your business some otherwise inevitable costs.
- Boost their morale: Your workers’ confidence will grow when they improve their skills or acquire new relevant ones. They also get a morale boost from this. They will be more eager to tackle tasks, and may become more productive as a result.
- Aid planning: Whatever your long term goals are, you’ll only be able to achieve them if you work with people who have the skills needed to make them happen. This means you’ll have to encourage your staff up the road to those goals, and also help them find the vehicles they need to succeed at it. When there’s a continuous process of investing in employees, long term plans become more feasible.
The best ways to invest in your staff
- Reward good performance
Your employees need to know that the work they do is valued and appreciated. Reward them when they produce exceptional results. You can do this by mentioning their good work at your staff meetings, telling them that you’re impressed with their performance and work ethic, or by giving them gifts. How you choose to recognize them depends on the significance of their accomplishments, and what they’re likely to appreciate given their personalities.
Creative approaches to getting work done should also be recognized, especially when they lead to an improvement in the efficiency of your company’s processes and a rise in the quality of your business’s output.
- Encourage trainings
This is probably one of the first few ideas you have when investing in employees gets mentioned. Your company can either sponsor its workers’ attendance of skills development programs, or simply encourage them to go for those if they can afford them.
If neither you nor your staff can pay for such trainings, you might consider doing some kind of barter deal with the program facilitators. For example, if you’re a media agency, you could offer them adverts in exchange for your workers attending their training programs. This cuts out cash from the transaction while giving your people the chance to acquire vital skills.
- Communicate with them
Take out any barriers standing in the way of free flowing, potentially productive interactions within your company. One means of doing this is the staff meeting; another is one-to-one talks.
But what’s really important here is what you do with the communication lines when they’re open. A good use of them would be showing your workers that their work matters. Discuss everyday tasks, short term projects and long term goals with them. But be open to personal conversations about their careers as well; this will show that you’re interested in their success as individuals, not merely as your employees.
Give them helpful advice when it’s needed- like reading and watching material that’ll help improve themselves and the work they do.
- Have a staff friendly work environment
Take the spatial and equipment needs of your workers into consideration when planning for workspace design and arrangement. Avoid cluttering or disorienting colour combinations. Ventilation, lighting, electricity and ease of movement within your work premises should also be taken care of.
The aim here is to make the work environment suitable for employees’ optimum productivity.
- Make work fun
When you put things in place to douse the pressures or spice up the regularity of work, you make your workers enjoy their jobs more.
You could fix some special days into your company’s calendar, such as a traditional Nigerian attire day, for instance. Celebrating birthdays are also a good way to promote bonding. Work related contests are another way of charging your business atmosphere with positive energy, as is handing out free food.
You may have noticed that many of these approaches to investing in employees don’t actually cost that much. In fact, cheering your team on or giving them good advice doesn’t cost you a dime. But they, as well as the other things you do to make your workers better, are investments in the growth of individuals. They’re also investments in your company’s growth.