The development of your workforce is a vital component to consider when it comes to the growth and future of your business. No matter your industry or sector, from retail to manufacturing your team are always going to be your most important asset.
The employer who fails to develop their team is one that is doomed to a slowdown in growth, and chances are high that their business will start to reach a tipping point where it can grow no further without increasing the size of the team. This then has an effect on your wage bill, further restricting your growth. Investing in your team is the most useful and effective way of having more control over your future, and the boss that neglects employee development is limiting the potential of their company.
Why Team Investment is Vital
Even if you have an employee development plan in place, the daily stresses of the workplace can make them very easy to dismiss for the week or keep putting off until the workload is more manageable. However, there are some key reasons why you should always make time for staff development.
1 – You attract better employees: Not only will you be a more attractive workplace if you have a clear staff development strategy, but you will also improve your chances of keeping those staff once you have hired them.
By highlighting how and where you invest in your team, you will be able to:
- Offer a much sought after benefit: Modern workers expect to see a range of benefits available on top of their salary, and staff development is one of those benefits that younger workers especially are keen to take advantage of.
- Improve loyalty: If you want improved employee retention, then investing in their future can be the most effective way of ensuring that they aren’t tempted to move elsewhere, saving you money on the usually costly hiring process. Staff loyalty is a key component of a better workplace.
- Gain a better reputation: People talk about their work, and their bosses. If you want to build a reputation as a good employer, then adding to the core skills of your team is a simple way of doing so.
- Attract better hires: Whether it’s extra training, easier access to education, or even something as simple as a monthly book fund, by offering staff development as a key benefit you will naturally attract those workers who are keen to better themselves. That can bring an energy to the workplace that will only be reinforced as they learn and put into practice those new skills.
2 – Promotable Team Members: If you have a member of staff in-house who has been taking engineering courses due to your concession to set days off to attend classes, then once they have graduated, they will be a more useful member of your team. Hiring and firing is costly, but if you can promote from your internal team then all the better. That employee will already know your business and will take less time to learn about the processes of the role. This is the main reason why big brands so much time on their staff development.
By either allowing for extra time off to complete an online course, or even paying the fees for that course, you end up with a much more valuable team member. Even if you initially hired them for one department, as they grow they will become more useful to you across the board. If someone who joined your team then graduates with Kettering University Online’s Lean Manufacturing Master’s degree, they immediately become a more useful asset. They will become much easier to promote, and the end result is that both you and they are going to be improved by the time and money investment that you make.
3 – Improved Engagement: If you have a team of bored employees then your overall productivity and workflow are going to be stunted. By giving your team the chance to improve themselves, you reduce the likelihood of workplace boredom. As a result, you eradicate the usual issues that come with an unenthusiastic team member, such as inefficient work habits or negative attitudes to fellow workers or even customers. Investing in them will give them a focus that they will then bring to their set responsibilities.
4 – Future-proofing: By asking yourself and your team what they should be doing to guide their personal development, you will be forcing yourself to look to the future. By assessing your own business, you will be able to see the skills and technologies that you are going to need. The answers that you come up with will have a result on the growth of your team, and rather than hiring an AI specialist or VR programmer, you will have the awareness and existing team members that will be willing to learn these skills. That makes them more useful to you, and will make them feel much more valued. Business cultures and goals change over time, and keeping an eye on the skills of your most valued employees is a simple way to make your future more secure.
How to Invest in Your Team
Once you have recognized the importance of ongoing staff training and development, the question then becomes how to identify the best way to accomplish this. An IDP (Individual Development Plan) means that you’re not trying to add skill sets to your workers without any real impact-consideration. Everyone is different, and every member of your team is going to need a different plan to improve and add to their relevant skill sets. A good IDP will ask three questions, and they are the same questions that you need to be asking about your own business as well. They are:
- Where am I currently positioned, and what are my key responsibilities?
- Where would I prefer to be?
- How will I get from where I am now to where I want to be?
By having a strong IDP and monthly meetings it is much easier to focus on each person’s growth, and that’s the key to more efficient staff investment.
The smart boss is the one that is always looking to improve. That means not just making changes to the business, or learning new skills yourself, but encompassing your entire team and moving you all forward together. If you want lower staff turnover, more loyal workers, and a business that will continue to grow, then investing in your team is much more than an employee benefit. It’s a necessity that can safeguard your future.