You have chosen people that are a great fit for your company. Now is time to take them to the next level by investing in them with training and professional growth. This commitment will give your employees opportunities to develop their job skills and compound on the company culture you are working so hard to build. Here is my list of ideas to invest in employees that can help increase the overall value of your business.
The first way you can invest in your employees is to seek to understand them. What do they want to accomplish in this job? Do they see it as a stepping stone? If you’re trying to grow the value of your company, you may not need employees who are going to be here today and gone tomorrow. Instead, you want team members who are going to come alongside you and seek internal advancement. They want advancement in compensation, in responsibilities, in duties, etc. So you want to ask about their employment goals and show them ways they can advance within your company.
Next, whenever you bring employees onto your team, you want to provide them with educational opportunities. Constantly help them move forward with their knowledge base. Don’t let them settle for status quo or lackluster performance. Teach them new things or send them to conferences, seminars, or training sessions. Motivate them by giving them proper guidance in their professional development and by offering them continuing education opportunities. By doing that, you can grow the future leaders of your organization.
If you’re encouraging professional development, you must have a development plan for your team members. If you know their professional goals, develop a plan for them to progress within your company. Show them where they are and where they can be within your company. Encourage them to set their own goals and outline your expectations for them. That way, you know what type of professional development they need.
The fourth way you can invest in your employees is to teach them something valuable on a weekly basis. Again, if you’re following these steps, you know your employees’ goals. And you know what it will take to help them reach those goals. Thus, give them valuable education in small bits each week. If other team members have knowledge the whole team needs, you can even have them teach.
When you’re training employees, you want them to receive a valuable education in-house as well as at other professional development venues. Thus, besides educating them in weekly meetings, you can pair your newer team members with seasoned mentors. Or, if you’re training a seasoned employee to move upward in your company, have a manager or supervisor mentor that employee.
Besides pairing mentors and mentees, you can have employees job shadow other players within your organization. If you have someone who wants to move up into management, have that person shadow a manager. This goes beyond mentoring. It’s where you actually have a team member watch another for a set amount of time to learn specific skills.
Additionally, you – as a business owner – must delegate authority to your employees. You can’t do everything by yourself. Micro-managing doesn’t allow your team members to grow and develop their own skill sets. Therefore, you must delegate jobs, positions, and leadership to give yourself more time to grow AND to give your employees a chance to learn and grow.
As you’re delegating tasks to your team members, give them assignments that actually stretch their abilities. Don’t just give them menial tasks or busy work to keep them occupied. Ask them to do things that are difficult for them. If they don’t ever push themselves, they’ll never reach the goals they’ve set for themselves within your company.
Perhaps the hardest thing for business owners to do is to trust employees. But if you’re going to help them improve their skills, you have to trust them to do the jobs you’ve given them. Remember, you’re letting go of control and giving them hard assignments. Trust their life experiences. Trust their education and knowledge. Step back and let them do their jobs.
The tenth thing you can do to invest in your team members is to help them build networks. Besides helping them grow their opportunities inside of your organization, help them build their opportunities outside it. Now, you’re not building their networks so they can leave your company. You’re building it so they can bring more business to your company and so they can build strong connections that will help them improve their own skills within your company.
Obviously, if you’re encouraging team members to participate in professional development, continuing education, training, and networking, you’re going to have to spend some money. Giving employees the chances and tools they need costs money, and if you aren’t willing to spend it, your employees – most likely – will not take the chances and get the tools they need on their own.
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Finally, ask your team members for honest feedback, AND receive it without getting your feelings hurt. Just because you’re the boss doesn’t mean you know everything. You don’t have all the answers. Therefore, ask them what you can do for them. Ask them how you can help them grow professionally within your company.
Remember, you’re job is to serve your team members. You’re trying to fulfill more than their basic needs. You want to help them fulfill their existential needs within your company and care more about the company than they do about a paycheck. Yet, to do that, you’ve got to invest in your employees. You’ve got to invest time, money, effort, energy, and education in them. Treat them as team members, not as employees. In our next podcast/article as we take investing in our staff to the next level with incentives that retain them long-term.