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Why It's Important to Invest in Your Employees

By: Debbie McGrath

Friday, February 01, 2013
 
Posted to HR.com by Ryan O’Connell, vice president of business development for Digital Talent Agents

It’s no secret that top talent makes businesses go. Whether you are a startup or a Fortune 500 company, you want and need top talent to grow and add value to your company. Company culture, productivity and overall employee happiness stem directly from how much training, responsibility and empowerment someone has at their current company.

With the growing need for top talent and the escalating trend of high turnover rates, it’s more important than ever to be investing time, resources and money into your employees. Instead of spending endless amounts of dollars to hire and retrain new employees, businesses need to focus more on how to hire and retain top talent.

Additionally, startups simply cannot afford to have a high turnover because of a lack of cash flow early on. Startups (whether fully funded or not) cannot and should not throw a money, time or effort training employees.

Avoid high turnover rates and invest in your team with these six keys.

Hire for Character, Train for Skill

I heard this saying early on. At my company, we are so protective of our company culture that we cherish character much more than skill. Just because someone’s skills are a perfect fit does not mean they are a perfect fit for your company.

In interviews, besides asking about a candidate’s qualifications, I like to figure out what type of person they are, what they like to do outside of work and what their true passions are. It’s much easier to teach someone a skill if they are willing and motivated than it is to motivate someone who has the skills—or worse—try to change their personality or workability within the company.

Our motto is, if we’re going to build this company right and have fun along the , we want people who we’re going to like being around and people who will challenge us to be a better company. If you are not 100-percent sure if someone will add to the company culture and mission you have created, then don’t hire them.

Establish Mentorship

One of the biggest reasons people leave a job or are unhappy with their current employer is that they don’t feel challenged or feel like they are experiencing personal growth. Not only do people want to be led, but they also want to feel a personal attachment with their peers and managers in the workplace.

At DTA, every full-time employee is assigned a mentor who is not in his department or a direct manager. This allows for full transparency and true mentorship, and it promotes personal growth beyond a person’s job requirements. It causes employees to be more involved and more knowledgeable about multiple aspects of the company.

Be Consistent

Consistency as a leader is the key to investing in your employees. Dr. Bob Nelson, president of Nelson Motivation Inc., shares some great insight on consistency:

“Consistency builds trust and creates a relationship where there are no surprises and you can count on the other person,” Nelson says. “If you are inconsistent, it makes it difficult to know what the future will hold, so people end up spending more time worrying about the future. If you don’t want the relationship to have wide swings in expectations and follow-through, you must systematically build your relationship over time, being predictable in all aspects—including communication and development.”

Give Responsibility

Giving responsibility to those within your organization shows that you trust your employees. The goal is to replicate your own leadership qualities in your organization, and that will not happen without giving responsibility and showing your trust in up-and-coming leaders.

Michelle Randall, principle of Enriching Leadership, says, “Employees aren’t mindless minions who execute your orders for money. Giving them responsibility grows their abilities by valuing their input and opinions and giving them the ability to fail. It’s a show of trust and builds their capacity —and capacity building is part of a manager’s responsibilities.”

Have Checkpoints

It’s important to hold your employees accountable, but it’s also important to be accountable to them. Spend time with each employee to ensure that things are going well personally and professionally, in their role within the company. This is a great opportunity to work out any problems or issues and, most importantly, a great time to brainstorm s that the company could be doing things better.

Hold monthly one-on-one meetings with everyone in your organization. As things start to grow and scale, spend time with your leaders and have them spend time with the individuals in their department.

Be Flexible

Hold your employees accountable, but also be flexible to their needs. By creating a flexible environment and culture, you can really empower your employees to embrace failure and learn from their mistakes instead of constantly walking on eggshells.

At DTA, we have a very flexible work schedule. Every employee is encouraged to work from where he needs to be, especially if something happens and they need to work a from the office. This creates an environment where employees are more concerned with working to accomplish their goals instead of getting caught up on the amount of hours worked or how many days off they get in a year.

Entrepreneurs, CEOs and executives must have processes in place to ensure that they are developing their talent and that their employees are happy and productive. If employee development and morale go unchecked, you will end up spending much more time, money and energy due to high turnover and internal issues. Additionally, if you are spending more and more time correcting mistakes, letting people go and hiring new employees, it will stunt your business’ growth—no matter how well the company is doing.    MF

 

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