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Investing in Your Employees

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Employee productivity requires investment. Today’s guest post reminds us of the most important element of business improvement: putting your employees first.

At the start of every year, holiday parties give way to annual business outlooks. While some signs indicate an uptick in the economy, the last year was a challenge for many young and established businesses. The new year offers bright potential and the chance to assess the state of a business. The best leaders take this time to rethink the vision and direction of the company, determining necessary changes to effectively meet goals.

small business consultants talk leadership

© Flickr user Brennan Moore

Employees experience a retrospective attitude at the turn of the year as well, assessing their work performance, happiness and outlook on the future. Whether a business is thriving or struggling, leaders need employees to carry the load in order to achieve growth. Owners and managers that resolve to invest more in employees will prime their business for success in the new year—no matter what the direction is.

First, Invest in Performance

The better the work, the more successful the business. Employee performance requires constant attention, but the more you pay attention to the needs and capacities of your workers, the greater opportunity you have for individual growth. Performance investments look different for different companies. In a sales environment, attending conference discussing modern techniques can give employees new tools to attract leads. A design firm using outdated technology could upgrade to the latest software and provide training. No matter the industry, a tangible commitment to investing in employee performance is one that demonstrates trust and loyalty. Employees that feel like they’re growing personally are more likely to commit to the work at hand and deliver a return on investment.

To create a culture of learning, set aside some money in the budget to invest on employee performance. Consider dedicating funds for training, books, or even a general allowance for upgrades.

Invest in Health

Productivity is obviously connected with time management. The solution, some think, is to carve out as much time as possible for work. This leads to coming in early and staying late, eating lunch at a desk and staying tethered to a chair at all costs. These choices may appear to increase productivity in spurts, but in the long run they compromise health.

“A proper diet, movement, exercise and seven to eight hours of sleep per night increase productivity,” reports Training Magazine. That means businesses that invest in the health of their employees aren’t only caring for their workers, they’re also improving the bottom line.

Likewise, owners that offer gym memberships may take a hit up front, but it will pay off with increased productivity. Smaller initiatives include encouraging walks throughout the day and discourage working through lunch.

Invest in Happiness

In any profession, there will be elements of the job that don’t capture an employee’s imagination or evoke excitement. That doesn’t mean owners and managers should dismiss the idea of promoting happiness at work, however. Studies show that happier people are more productive and cost employers less in medical costs and absenteeism. According to Psychology Today, a survey of more than 100,000 people demonstrates a clear link between general attitude and overall output.

There’s no formula to cultivate workplace happiness, but a high degree of freedom, a feeling of appreciation and a strong sense of engagement in the workplace are common traits of the happiest employees, CBS News Reported. Whether it’s an additional pat on the back or more employee input on large projects, managers that promote happiness will be see the difference in overall business productivity.

As an Indianapolis consultant for hedge-fund investors, Madeleine Berry believes that there are many other business endeavors that one can invest in, outside of military spending. She tells her clients to follow their heart and the money will follow.

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