How and Why to Invest in your Employees

Good, quality employees are hard to find. They are even harder to lose. All business owners realize sooner or later that employee turnover can cost not only money but also time and effort. It is hard for a modern business to differentiate itself from the competition in terms of what it is offering to its employees. It is becoming more and more obvious that we need to offer unique advantages that other businesses do not. So how does one acquire and retain their employees over time? The most solid method is by investing in our workforce. It is by no means a new or revolutionary strategy, but the options for doing just that are constantly expanding. Since our employees are the bread and butter of any business, investing in our employees ultimately means investing in the future and wellbeing of our own company. The ultimate goal is to create a motivated and engaged workforce to increase employee content and reduce turnover for our business. Here are some ways how to achieve these goals.

  1. Work/life balance

It is a tough job to create a business in the first place and little time is left for rest and relaxation.  Still, we should not forget that our employees’ performance directly impacts our company’s success. As our workforce often represent the public face of our work and are interacting with customers daily, we cannot afford to overstress them. A clear division of labour and an objective expectation of how much an employee can achieve in a given day is a necessity. Asking them to do more than they are physically capable or expecting greater sacrifices than what is acceptable will inevitably increase turnover. We need to keep long shifts to a minimum and keep overtime as a last resort used only in rush hours. As much as the nature of our business allows, we need to be flexible with time off for employees. The business that we have made might be our life, but our employees have lives of their own outside of work. It is important to let them enjoy it as much as they can.

  1. Competitive compensation

We as business owners are always concerned with one thing and that is the bottom line. And there is nothing wrong with that, as it is in everyone’s interest to prosper at the end of each fiscal year. The thing to note is that we are not the only ones. Each individual employee is concerned about their own bottom line as well. A large portion of the workforce is concerned about their finances. Globally, the cost of living is on a constant upward spiral, and compensation is struggling to keep up. Paying minimum wage is simply not enough to attract and retain the most qualified people for the job. There are plenty of ways to determine the average pay ranges based on a multitude of factors such as industry, role and location. How we fare in that field relative to the competition will influence our workforce quality, motivation and retention. One thing to note is that compensation comes in many shapes and forms aside from cash in hand at the end of the month. We may not be able to provide everyone with a pay raise, but there are plenty of other ways to compensate our employees for their time and labour. Paid time off, flexible work hours, improved health care and plenty of other benefits come to mind. Compensation on all levels should be revised at least once a year. Once we know where we stand as far as compensation goes, we can get a general perspective on how satisfied our workforce is. Also, we will know just how much we can count on them staying in the company rather than going somewhere where they might have better conditions. Here is a point of reference: one in three employees will look for a new job if they are refused a raise. Furthermore, almost every other employee expects a raise in the next fiscal year. The takeaway is if we are not compensating our employees in a competitive manner relative to other companies, those other companies will.

  1. Personal and professional development

Adequate knowledge and skills are essential for an efficient and smooth-running working environment. Failing to address this crucial business aspect can result in people feeling disconnected and disengaged at work. Work challenges should be met with adequate opportunities for development. The feeling of stagnation and being stuck in a dead-end job is never a pleasant state of mind to be in. This state will always lead employees to seek other employment opportunities. There are plenty of ways to invest in our employees on both a personal and professional level and minimize the risks of this happening. Depending on the industry we find our business in, there are always skills that can be mastered. It can be done to further perfect already acquired skills or gain entirely new ones. Languages are the first example that usually comes to mind. The more languages an individual masters, the higher his value on the labour market is. Furthermore, immigrant workers from other countries might need to perfect the language and pronunciation in order to do their job to the best of their abilities. There are plenty of English pronunciation courses in Sydney and these are really the basics when it comes to personal development. Other programs and courses might include computer and office package training, or something industry and niche specific. Employees will value these opportunities greatly. It is important to note that improvement is a constant process towards excellence and should always be active. Finally, it is a good idea to have regular check-ins with our employees to track their progress and collectively come up with new ways to further it.

To invest in our employees is to give the opportunity for the individual as well as for the collective (company). The best part is that it does not necessarily have to mean lavish spending. Many good ideas do not cost very much. The important part is that they will make a difference in the individual lives of our employees and their families. Our company will also enjoy a sense of loyalty and camaraderie amongst the workforce and turnover will be greatly reduced.

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