Peter Baeklund once wrote about a conversation between a CFO and a CEO:
The CFO says: “What if we invest in our people and they leave?”
The CEO then replies: “What if we don’t invest in our people and they stay?”
There has not been many ‘employee markets’ like there is right now. New recruits have many (many) choices of jobs, and they can command unprecedented salary and benefits in order for leaders to attract them.
Which leads to the secondary problem… retaining talent. Employees know that there are options for employment out there where they can make more money, get better benefits and not be in a place where they may not be appreciated or respected.
I still get calls from frustrated leaders where they feel trapped in an organization where the CEO or some other senior leader is ‘ruling’ like it’s 1970 and they think they can get away with treating employees like ‘crap’.
I could write a book on all the things that leaders need to do to build a culture that creates an employment brand that attracts great people (maybe I should do that…) however, let’s just focus on one element… Investing in the development of your people.
In the 1970’s, managers could demand that people come with job-ready skills and that they, on their own time, take supplementary courses at night school to build on their skills. Managers could demand that people start early, work late and take work home with them. And… managers could use fear of losing one’s employment as their key motivator.
Today though, leaders (notice I didn’t say “managers”) have to recruit, assess and hire based on ‘character’ not skills. Every skill on the planet except character can be taught. The best team members I have ever hired had character and very little skills for the job. The worst I ever hired had amazing resumes and a long pedigree of initials in front of and behind their name.
Bottom line, a big portion of your operating budget needs to be dedicated to nurturing talent to grow their skills. And there is a direct linear correlation from growth in skills to growth in engagement, and growth in customer satisfaction to growth in the bottom line.
Oh, and in my experience, when we invest in our people, they tend to stay because they feel cared for, appreciated and respected.
Robert Murray is a Vancouver, BC based Business Strategy Consultant, #1 Best Selling Author, International Keynote Speaker, and TEC Top Speaker of the Year for 2018. For further advice, insight and inspiration on how to unlock your inner leader, connect with Robert on LinkedIn.
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