Your company’s greatest asset is its people. They push your product, solve complex problems, and keep your business running. Ideally, you want great employees who stick around to grow your company and help you take it to the next level. But that kind of thing doesn’t happen magically, even with the most talented people. Rather, employers must actively invest in their employees.
But what exactly does that mean? Free food? More vacation days? While snacks and time off are great, throwing perks at your employees willy-nilly won’t win you much return on your investment. Instead, a strategic investment catered to what’s best for your employees and your company is the way to go. These five recommendations are a good place to start.
Encourage Employees to Develop Their Personal Brand
Don’t be precious with your employees. Keeping them hidden under the roof of your company out of fear they’ll fly away at the first opportunity is not healthy. Instead, encourage your employees to develop their personal brand in the context of your company by updating their LinkedIn profiles, sharing company news, and promoting themselves as thought leaders by blogging or speaking about their expertise in the industry.
One benefit to this strategy is that it is more of a cultural investment than it is a financial investment. Aside from workshops designed to coach employees on what a personal brand is, this strategy can be executed by simply encouraging your team to put themselves out there.
You can also accomplish this by providing opportunities for your team members to represent the company at conferences or attend networking events on the company’s behalf.
Invest in Professional Development
There are always new skills your team can pick up. Encourage them to learn more by providing them with the funds and opportunity to do so. Run the kind of company where talented people want to stay and grow.
If you don’t have enough time to organize workshops or webinars, provide your employees with a fixed amount of money for books or online courses. If you don’t have any specific skills you want your employees to learn first, the next best option is to leave the decision with them since they are the ones who know the ins and outs of their job.
Offer Specific Benefits That Actually Help Your Employees (And You)
Aside from health insurance and retirement investment options, employers are often stumped about what kind of benefits to offer their employees. Free food? A pool table?
To be honest, you can never go wrong with free food, but you should choose your perks strategically. Let’s say you have very passionate, dedicated employees who voluntarily stay late to work on a project. Passion won’t run their errands for them or give them more time in the day to spend with their family, so they’ll eventually have to leave the office to cater to these personal obligations. In an effort to reduce tedious chores and give employees more personal time (and therefore more time to recuperate and work better), companies like JibJab Media offer a free laundry service for its employees.
The same goes for perks like gym memberships or extended vacation days. By investing in your team’s health and wellness, you wind up with balanced, happy employees.
Cultivate a Collaborative Culture
“Culture” is the business buzzword that refuses to die, but it exists for a good reason. Your company’s vibe influences how your people work together and whether your best people choose to stick around.
Promote collaboration and cooperation by organizing company retreats. If paying for 25 people to spend a weekend at a remote lodge isn’t in your budget, schedule team-building exercises or sports events.
Invest in an Incentives Program
A great way to encourage people to go the extra mile is to make it worth their while. Obviously, a good employee will do their job well regardless of bonuses. But incentives that reward team members for landing a big contract or exceeding their sales target creates an atmosphere of public recognition and healthy competition. That combination brings results.
Remember: This is about “investing” in your employees, not “spending” on your employees. If done right, investing in your people yields dividends and adds value to your startup, team, or organization.
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