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Invest in your people & they’ll take care of your business

Paul Beesley, senior consultant

Paul Beesley, senior consultant, Beyond Theory

A finance director once said to his chief executive, ‘What if we pay for all this training and everyone decides to leave?’ The chief executive replied, ‘What if we don’t and they decide to stay?’

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney is now on record as saying we are beginning to experience an economic recovery. Yet fierce competition, reduced budgets and tough economic times means that we all still need to get more from less. But how can you make sure that your people are fit to meet the challenges you need them to face? Times are changing fast and customers have more choice, more product knowledge and more power than ever before.

Here’s another angle. Some commentators use the cliché ‘People are your greatest assets’. I disagree. Although companies own assets, they certainly don’t own their people. Instead businesses hire their attitude, skills and knowledge. Employees can walk away at any time. And if they are not happy they will walk – eventually. Not only will the business lose their input and hands on capability but the leaver will take their corporate knowledge away with them and possibly customers too.

So what’s the answer?  Whatever business we’re in we need people. Service, manufacturing, the knowledge economy – each depends on people. Having people that are equipped to produce the goods, deliver the service and build relationships is essential. But it’s only half the story. People also need to be energised, enthused and excited about what they do. Only then does passion takeover to ensure your customers’ needs are at least met if not exceeded. The higher the engagement of employees, greater productivity and profitability will follow.

If you’re still not convinced then here are the facts. Research undertaken on behalf of the Government* surveyed over 23000 companies. Those that adopted best practice in employee engagement showed an average 18% higher productivity, 12% higher customer advocacy and 12% higher profitability. For those organisations in the lowest quartile of best practice showed 31 to 52% higher employee turnover, 51% higher inventory shrinkage and 62% more accidents. At some time we’ve all been served by disengaged employees – we know what it feels like. Can you risk this being felt by your customers?

Providing quality training and development goes way beyond fulfilling compliance and other mandatory obligations. Skilling up people increases their knowledge, confidence and feeling of well-being. Training offers different perspectives in a world where standing still means you go backwards. But most of all investing in people gives the key message that says ‘I believe in you and I believe you’re worth it’. Your employees will feel it. I think your customers will notice it too.

Paul Beesley

For more information on our business training & coaching and our employee engagement survey tools please contact Paul on 01604.212505 or email at paul@beyondtheory.co.uk

(*source: Engage for Success by David MacLeod and Nita Clarke)

1 Comment

  1. Paul Green on August 13, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    Really useful statistics Paul on how employee engagement can impact bottom line profits. I have a tip in my book about staff – maybe for the new edition you would like to comment/edit the following as it currently stands:

    Tip Number 45: Staff – without personnel, your business would more than likely not survive and staff are a potentially expensive resource if they are not performing in your business. Motivation is a key factor and is not necessarily that onerous to achieve. Communicate with your team on a regular basis, letting them know what is happening with the business, even if the news is not so great – they probably already know anyway. Appraise staff and set them targets in line with your business plan and what you want to achieve in each department and reward them accordingly for the contribution that they make – maybe share options are a possibility within your business? Bear in mind, it is not always about pay – there may be other rewards you can make.

    Train and develop staff in line with the business needs. Consider your staff as an investment, as opposed to a cost, and nurture them so that you get the best return – on the whole, people want to do their best at work but sometimes need encouragement. Listen to your staff – particularly with regard to problems that your business is facing – as they are working in the various areas where the problems exist, they are best placed to suggest a solution – you may be surprised how your business could be enhanced.

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