“CFO – What happens if we invest in our people and they leave? CEO – What happens if we don’t invest in them and they stay?” – Peter Baeklund
Leadership teams should invest in their teams and themselves. We shouldn’t feel like it’s an obligation, or that there is some magic formula of $XX per employee. And we shouldn’t worry that our employees will leave. They will stay if we do our job in our relationship with them – treat them with respect, build a team based on trust, listen and respond to their ideas, and give them opportunities to develop their skills and grow their career.
Let’s look at some of the ways we can invest in each other:
- Leadership coaching. I feel strongly that if we are each going to be the best leaders possible, we need coaching. Leadership is learned, not innate. We receive formal coaching, we seek feedback; we should spend significant time and energy and thought trying to be better leaders – is there any time blocked on your calendar next week that sys “Leadership time”? Most of us don’t think that way but we should. We will never be perfect leaders, but improvement in our leadership skills will translate to advantages for our teams as we all grow together.
- Assist employees in getting education. Through tuition reimbursement and just being flexible with schedules, I have seen numerous team members get their degree and enhance their skills. More importantly, they beam with pride at their accomplishments, and that is reward enough.
- Send leaders to conferences so they can learn and stay up to date on emerging topics, learn specialized skills, or to obtain certifications.
- Provide opportunities for fun activities and rewards. Things like appreciation events, volunteering together, team sports, reward lunches, anniversary celebrations, and fun times in the office like cube decorating. Some of these things cost no money, but we allow time to enjoy each other. Others cost money, and I can honestly say it is the best money I spend every year!
- On the job training – ensure you have good onboarding programs to let employees feel comfortable right from the start.
If you are an employee, I bet you can come up with ways your own managers and leaders have helped support you. Please let them know what you appreciate about the opportunities they have given you. Feel free to give a shout out to someone who has personally meant something to your growth – this is our chance to say thanks to those who help us be better employees and leaders.