As the owner of a business, unhappy employees and turnover don’t just take up valuable time, but it will also gnaw into your bottom line and see your company worse off at the loss of good people. Here are 12 ways you can invest in your team this year.
The fact of the matter is: if you’re failing to take the time to invest time and capital into your team, you’ll find that you will continue to lose good people and in doing so, jeopardising the future of your organisation.
In this blog, we’ve listed twelve ways in which you can invest in your team in 2020.
Invest in continued development
The fact that studies show that 67% of employees are not engaged in what’s happening at work could be down to the fact that they see no clear development pathway. When someone feels as though their career is in a rut, other career options can start to catch their eye.
One of the best ways to engage an employee in their own advancement is by creating an annual development plan. These plans are essential tools in the setting of goals, both long and short-term, but the real advantage is that it starts to get someone’s cogs moving as they begin to think about how they can invest in themselves.
For these plans to be successful, you need to give your management teams the resource to frequently track these goals with regular meetings on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis. Without checking-in on these goals, they’ll never come to fruition.
Invest in bedding in new recruits
According to statistics from inc.com, 17.42% of new employees leave their new role within the first month of employment. The typical reasons for new employees leaving their new role included feeling neglected, finding the job different than expected or not given proper training.
While your organisation needs to hire the right faces, it’s vital to ensure they’re completely clear of what the role is, who you are as a company and what is expected of them.
This needs to be done even from the moment you sit down for an interview, and by doing so, you can create a buzz that helps them feel wanted and included from the get-go.
Invest in benefits & perks for the individual
When deciding what perks you might like to provide your employees, remember there’s no single benefit that will appeal to everyone – which is where many organisations get it wrong.
Benefits and perks are designed to keep your employees happy, but if you’re not providing them with something they will enjoy or get value from, there’s no point in doing it at all.
For example, a young, single employee may prefer vouchers for eating out, cinema trips and the like whereas employees who are parents may benefit from childcare vouchers or flexible working hours.
It really is a case of assessing individual wants and needs to ensure that the perks on offer are useful.
Invest in defining job roles
These days, more than ever, employee engagement and happiness is intrinsically linked with finding meaning and purpose in our work. Employees are looking for the bigger picture and how their role contributes to the overall success of the company.
Expectations between employer and employee must be clearly defined, otherwise conflict, resentment and disagreement will begin to fracture the relationship.
For example, if your employee is happy with making X new sales every month, but you have a very different goal in mind, then there’s a communication issue. Outline goals regularly, again starting at the interview stage.
Invest in creating an interactive mission statement
As we’ve already covered, the modern workforce isn’t just looking for a wage slip each month; they’re looking to impact the world around them through what they do.
When looking to define your company, it’s essential to look beyond the services or products you provide. Although these are important, potential employees may be more interested in the culture and how your business makes a difference to people’s lives, which is why it’s a good idea to have your team help you craft your mission statement.
Ask them what they like about the business, what the customers are feeding back, and how they feel the job is creating a social impact. By doing this, you can create a feeling of authenticity and sincerity around the brand, and invest in your team.
Invest in team building
While forcing friendships at work is never the answer, you should instead encourage closer working relationships.
Team activities like sport, paintballing, golf days and go-karting are all great ways to encourage interaction and camaraderie outside the office environment.
Of course, if you’re looking for something a little more low key, you could consider team lunches or after-work drinks.
Invest in fair compensation
Barring a lucky minority, most of us have at some stage have worried about our financial situation. As the cost of living across the UK is rising, the average wage is struggling to compensate. What this means in basic terms for business owners, is that if you want to attract top talent and keep them, you need to offer fair compensation.
Once you’ve reviewed each employees’ wages and bonus structures, you need to ensure that you’re taking the time to review them every year.
If you’re not reasonably paying your workforce, another business will be happy to offer them something more enticing. If you’re still not convinced, consider that a recent study revealed that replacing a talented employee could cost your company 200% of that employee’s annual salary.
Invest in helping employees move laterally
As a business owner, you’ll often find a young professional; willing to learn and develop, yet they’re still a little rough around the edges. Usually, when you take a chance on someone like this, their career path has is not yet clearly defined in their mind. This means they may well be looking around for a new challenge after a while, that may be different than the one you had earmarked for them.
If, for example, you’ve always thought that this person may be suited to an admin role, but their real passion lies with working on social media, don’t discourage this. As a business owner, it’s up to you to help shape your team, and by offering lateral movement, you’re far more likely to have a happy and engaged employee.
Not only are you offering different ways for this person to develop, which may stop them from jumping ship, but you’ve also been instrumental in giving this person the freedom to define their true career path.
Invest in pinpointing negativity
If you’ve found that you’ve had a few unanticipated resignations, or morale overall feels low, despite your investments to make things better, you might find that something or someone is draining away the positive energy.
From a management perspective, it’s often difficult to spot those toxic individuals, as from the outside looking in, they can either be model employees or very good at covering up the fact they aren’t. Whatever the case may be, you could be losing good people because of it.
Negativity within a business, starts life as a small seed, that will eventually grow and touch every aspect of the organisation – once this happens, it’s really tough to pinpoint the root of the problem.
In most small businesses, it’s not as simple as restricting communication between the offending party and the rest of your team. It’s crucial to speak to the person, whether they’re at management level or not, to find out what exactly could be causing such angst. Perhaps they’re unhappy, or maybe they just aren’t the right fit for your company, either way, it might be time for a change to suit everyone.
Invest in feedback culture
Have you been caught off-guard by an unexpected resignation?
If the first time you’re realising that an employee is unhappy is the moment they hand you a resignation letter, then you might be facing a big problem.
Something like this is especially problematic if you employ a small team since there’s a very good chance that fellow team members will already know their colleague will be resigning, or they’ve noticed how unhappy their fellow team member has been.
Imagine this from your teams’ point of view, their colleague has been unhappy for a little while now, and all they can see is that you’ve either done nothing about it, or you’ve not noticed at all.
Strong lines of communication in the workplace mean that you shouldn’t feel bad about telling your team what they can do better and where they’ve excelled. Similarly, your employees should be encouraged to come to you and communicate with you when they see something that could be improved, without fear of ramifications.
Initially, it won’t be easy to hear, but over time you’ll see that negative feedback can sometimes be a productive step since it gives you the knowledge you need to make the working environment a much better place to be.
When you start listening to people, you invest in your team and keep an eye out for different people saying the same things.
Invest in celebrating milestones
Companies offering birthdays as holiday days are commonplace now, but have you thought about expanding this idea?
Personal occasions, whether that be pregnancies, engagements, or weddings are worthy of a celebration, and it’s excellent, as an employee when you know that people around you at work care about what you’re up to in your personal life.
Invest in work/life balance
Building up a business means putting in the hours and getting stuck in, and as the owner, you have earned the right to take a day off, leave early or hide away in your office, if you really feel like it – your employees, however, don’t have that luxury.
They are the engine room of your business, which means the better they perform, the better the company does – which means you can’t afford to burn them out.
Sure, on some occasions you’ll inevitably need to ask more of your team than you usually would – that’s just the nature of business – but doing so time-and-time again causes stress, fatigue and burn out.
By trying your best to be as flexible as you can, you’ll find that employees are far more responsive when you do have to ask more of them than usual.
Taking the time and resources and invest in your team benefits everyone, which in turn improves a business.
Many of the ideas we’ve suggested don’t require significant cash investments, but rather time and attention. Improving the working environment helps everyone feel more motivated, engaged and therefore reduces the chance of someone having their head turned by another company.
About the Author
Richard LeCount is a branding and marketing expert and the managing director of eCommerce business usbmakers.com