In the business world, success means different things to different people, depending on where you are in the company hierarchy.
From an executive’s perspective, it might mean meeting or exceeding your yearly sales goals, winning a major client, or cutting expenses. An employee, meanwhile, shares in accomplishing those same goals but also has goals of their own—upleveling their skill sets, being a part of a collaborative and creative team, or advancing in their career and financial status.
The thing is, these goals aren’t at odds—a company’s success is highly dependent on the success of its team.
One of the biggest problems for companies today is managers who let their employees’ goals fall by the wayside. And when your team doesn’t feel respected and valued, your company suffers and employees go elsewhere. If you want to be a successful company leader, you need to listen to your employees’ needs and do what you can to help them succeed.
Here’s why the success of your company depends on giving your team the tools they need to feel heard and respected:
Your team is more important than your product.
So your company offers an exceptional product or service—great!
But if you don’t have good people behind it that you can train, and that will stay, who are passionate and dedicated and will put in the work, then what do you really have? You can’t grow a business that stands the test of time on the backs of complacent and unmotivated employees—not to mention if you have high employee churn rates.
There is a much greater payoff in working on improving the human factor than people think. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found that spending 10% of a company’s revenue on capital improvements increased productivity by 3.9%. But investing that same amount in developing the employee capital more than doubles that amount, to 8.5%.
Monster.com recommends asking, “How loyal are my employees, really?” This requires soliciting feedback from all employees. Here’s what you have to determine:
- How do our management styles impact employee loyalty?
- Does our company provide the tools and training employees need?
- Is great customer service rewarded?
- Does our company actively show it deserves employee loyalty?
With an unhappy workforce, customer service becomes slow and your product quality suffers. Your employees should feel like they’re working for a reason. If you disrespect them, they’ll repay the favor by doing the bare minimum. Worse, your company won’t be in any kind of position to innovate, which is a major detriment to long-term success. If your employees aren’t encouraged to grow and learn new things, the company won’t either.
But if you prioritize your workforce, they will become valuable collaborators to carry your company to future successes.
If employees don’t feel valued, they’ll go elsewhere.
Today’s workforce is made up of job-hoppers.
Research shows that over 50% of people recruited to a given organization will leave within just two years. And the primary reason isn’t what you think. One of the key reasons has to do with how an employee interprets the value their company sees in them and how they are recognized for it. This is because a lot of us prioritize personal development and growth—they want to work somewhere that makes them feel good about themselves and what they’re doing.
I know this from personal experience.
I accepted my previous job because the company had a rapidly expanding marketing department, which sounded like an exciting opportunity for growth. But it didn’t pan out as planned. I was brought in to add some much-needed marketing background to our strategic team. Despite that, I always seemed to be working against the conventions of their preexisting methods. Not only did I feel undervalued for my work, but it was becoming glaringly apparent that the potential for growth was just not there.
From the start, I voiced my desire to learn and to better myself as a marketing professional. I’d come to HR with a super easy and inexpensive plan, explaining that we’d just have to set aside an hour each month for our team to get together and then rotate having employees share their expertise.
Time and time again, they’d shoot my ideas down with very little consideration. They just wanted to “do what we’ve always done.”
This made me less invested in the company’s success. As soon as I realized I could thrive without the company, I left.
Your employees will only feel fulfilled if they feel respected. You’d be wise to listen to them and treat them seriously. Otherwise, they’ll move on to better opportunities.
Hire churn is a waste of time and money.
Don’t forget that your employees are an investment.
The second they join your company, the costs begin adding up. From the interview onward, you spend time and money on the employee under the presumption that he or she will generate value for your business.
But when your company has a high turnover rate, your company pays.
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reported that it costs a company an average of six to nine months of an employee’s salary to replace him or her. If an employee is making $60,000 a year, this comes out to between $30,000 and $45,000 in recruiting and training costs. And you waste not only money but also the effort it takes to constantly train new hires.
It’s a major headache all around.
Frequent employee turnover also signals to potential new hires that your business isn’t doing well, or that the company culture is toxic. In the long run, you’re going to wind up spending time and money interviewing more candidates, hoping you get a decent hire.
But retaining your workforce reduces the effort and costs associated with recruitment. Your company will be more productive and employees will be more loyal—and it’s never been more important to foster a sense of loyalty. Forbes recently reported that today’s workplace has become much more transactional for employees, as more workers realize their career path is entirely in their hands.
But if you can create a culture that inspires loyalty for the long-term, your team members are less likely to take their talents elsewhere.
Encourage your employees to speak up, and make room for them to share their goals.
For a company to succeed, leaders have to be in tune with their employees’ aspirations, concerns, and ideas.
That means when it comes time to review employee performance, you actively pay attention and make an action plan to help your team members meet their goals. But even the most receptive and proactive managers can only do so much. Many employees aren’t forthright about what they need, so leaders have to tease it out of them.
You have to ask the right questions, including:
- Where do you feel most successful right now?
- Where do you need to be?
- What is your ideal leader?
- Where can you improve?
- How can we help you succeed?
Once you get the answers, put a plan in place to help them get there. You have to be proactive to make it happen.
Sometimes your employees won’t be realistic or self-aware, and that’s okay. The point is to have an ongoing dialogue in which your employee feels heard. When you help your employees accomplish their goals, they’ll be happier, more productive, and more passionate. Not to mention, they’ll also attribute their happiness to the company giving them the tools they need to grow.
Organizations need committed and engaged employees to thrive. Companies that get it right will see greater returns, surpass the competition, and climb to the top of their field.
It’s a no-brainer.