Gallup, Human Sigma
Want to succeed as a business owner? Want to develop company performance that is superior? Then, focus on your people. Develop them; coach them; offer them meaningful feedback. Spend time, money, and energy investing into your team. As you engage your people, your company will grow.
As owners and leaders, it often seems easier to invest in the tangible—machines, new products, advertising campaigns. In a sense, you know what you get with those dollars. But, as identified in Human Sigma, Gallup research indicates superior growth occurs when you invest in engaging your people.
“But how? Where should I start?” you might be asking. Focus on three basic elements, all of which are necessary for people to grow: knowledge, new challenges, and feedback.
Create opportunities for your team to learn new information and develop new skills. This does not have to be an expensive investment. With free and ultra low-cost tools available online from schools like MIT and companies such as Skillshare, it is relatively simple to develop on-the-job-training curriculum. Or, with a small cash investment, conferences abound in relevant trade associations or via your local Chamber of Commerce. Continuing education is foundational to growth.
As individuals demonstrate a willingness to learn, identify new opportunities or challenges for them. Special projects can be a substantive way for people who are learning and developing new skills to apply their new knowledge. Learning something new is one thing, transforming that knowledge into a developed skill requires use. New challenges help sustain the skill-growth in people and teams.
As people rise to the new challenges, feedback is crucial. Consistent and constructive communication with people is important fuel for a person’s growth and engagement. When this type of communication exists, the individuals, with time, begin to learn and believe that leadership wants them to succeed. Making such feedback a two-way path of communication heightens and establishes the engagement of people. The employees will feel cared for and “heard” by their leadership. Making this pivot will help cement the engagement of your people.
There are multiple benefits to this kind of investment in your people. Knowledge, new challenges, and feedback will create multiple points of engagement for employees. As employees engage, they grow in their desire to lean into their work in a way that is often difficult to measure. Engaged employees start going “above and beyond” as they serve the customer. Engaged employees look for creative ways to do work more efficiently. Engaged employees are quick to develop new products and services. And, engaged employees help you recruit strong talent as they recommend their company as “the place to work.”
Ultimately, the small investment in developing and engaging employees will generate financial return as sales grow and profitability increases. So, if you want to succeed as a business owner, invest in and engage your employees. The results will speak for themselves.