Employee investment

People want to feel like they are a part of something bigger than just an office job.

one of the most popular reality TV shows on today is “Shark Tank” — the show where wealthy, mostly self-made business professionals help a small business owner achieve their entrepreneurial dreams. There have been many successful products to take over the market after appearing on “Shark Tank.” Take the Scrub Daddy, for instance. The concept is simple but has been sold over 10 million times. To date, Scrub Daddy is one of the most successful products to appear on the show. But where would Scrub Daddy be if it was not for this investment? According to Forbes, before Scrub Daddy presented on “Shark Tank,” it struggled to make $100,000 in over 18 months. Scrub Daddy has now made over $75 million thanks to the investment from Lori Greiner.

So, what happens when we invest in our employees the same way the sharks invest in these companies?

A steady paycheck and some PTO are no longer enough to satisfy employees. Employees want to feel like they are a part of something bigger than just an office job, something bigger than themselves. The feeling that they are a part of a team that values them as an individual and respects their ideas. They want to be invested in.

The workforce isn’t the same environment that our parents and grandparents grew up with. As the millennials and Gen Z populations start to take over, the “work ‘til you drop” mentality is becoming less and less potent. The newer generations are focused on the concept of belonging to a team that creates value, not merely just working for a paycheck. When employees don’t feel challenged or fully engaged in the work they are doing, employee turnover rates skyrocket.

The CEO of Virgin Group Richard Branson once said, “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.” The conversation of employee engagement has been so prevalent in recent years that you would think it’s second nature by now. Our research shows that investing in the talents and capabilities of your employees is one of the best ways to increase employee engagement and instill loyalty.

If you’re not investing in your employees, you’re not investing in the future of your business. (Sean Kelly - People Management)

The same holds true for the inventors on Shark Tank. When you look at something as simple as a sponge you might not see a lot of potential in it. However, when you add a little ingenuity, time and care you can produce a multimillion-dollar product. It is the same with your employees. Invest in them, and they will invest their time, energy and passion back into the company.

When sourcing for a new candidate, you are putting the candidate in “The Tank.” The investors are the HR department, supervising manager, project leader or owner. The candidate’s resume is their pitch outline, showing a base overview of their strengths, hobbies and past experiences. Through the interview, the candidate will begin showing you their behaviors and talk a little more in-depth about their past and what they aspire for the future. Based on this pitch, the investor can decide if they want to invest in this pitch or keep looking for their million-dollar candidate.

“When employees don’t feel challenged or fully engaged in the work they are doing, employee turnover rates skyrocket.”

Investing in your employees does not have to be a million-dollar investment. To keep your employees happy, you do not need to single-handedly fund everyone’s master’s program (however, this would be very thoughtful and appreciated).

A study by PwC showed the top qualities that millennials look for in a job are opportunities for career progression and development programs. Therefore, employee engagement can be as simple as having an immersive and detailed onboarding program for new hires. A study by Axonify noted that only 31% of employees receive formal job training. Carol Leaman, CEO of Axonify, stated, “If employees don’t have the correct training to perform their jobs properly, they will disengage. This, in turn, will result in work quality, productivity and customer satisfaction issues.”

Times are changing, and the number of jobs a single person holds in their lifetime has increased from past years. Investing in the capabilities of your employees by providing experiences and creating mobility ensures that they are building a lifelong career, not just a pit-stop for some experience before they move on to bigger and better things.

Be bigger and be better by investing in your employees the same way Lori invested in Scrub Daddy: provide them the resources and support they need to create their million-dollar idea.

Todd Downing is a partner at BEST Human Capital & Advisory Group, through which he provides retained executive recruiting and human resource advisory services including HR auditing, retention strategies, onboarding development and succession planning for horticultural industry companies.

Tessa Rasmussen is a human capital advisor at BEST Human Capital & Advisory Group with a background in customer service, marketing and sales. She’s a recent graduate of Bradley University.

February 2020
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