Why You Need to Develop Your People in Tough Economic Times


Economically speaking, times are tough. No surprise there, right? Well, if you keep one eye on your company’s sales performance and the other on the financial bottom line, you’re overlooking your greatest asset: your employees.

It’s tempting to focus attention on technology, materials, and processes to manage costs and gain efficiencies. While those are certainly important, it is your people that actually run technology, acquire materials, and initiate processes. You can have the best resources in your industry, yet without the right people operating and managing your resources, your efficiencies and productivity will be compromised. The time you spend developing your people can be the solution to ultimate cost savings and efficiency. We propose that your next quarter, or even makeover this next year, should focus on developing your people to be more effective than ever. Think longer-term. Think employee performance.

Attention to Employee Performance Yields Great Returns

  • Instills a sense of ownership and self-worth
  • Promotes mutual accountability between the employee and the manager
  • Improves overall company morale
  • Builds trust and a positive, innovative environment
  • Increases job satisfaction

Improved Workforce Performance Affects Your Bottom Line and Your Reputation

  • Improves employee retention
  • Fosters adaptability and resiliency
  • Increases productivity and efficiency
  • Promotes longevity and profitability
  • Improves customer satisfaction and retention

How to Approach Performance Management

Insight’s experience shows that focus on employee development rapidly deteriorates after the hiring process; little thought and few resources are allocated to foster and grow the talent of people already on the payroll. Further, many employees are misaligned with their current jobs, which results in inefficiency and dissatisfaction that costs your company time and money while you accommodate, avoid, or are simply unaware of the problems that result. Every job within your organization should have a career path identified for growth and development. This assures that from day one employees are engaged in a growth program and will view their job as fulfilling and valuable.

Think of Your Employees as You Do Your Customers

Customers are getting smarter. So are employees. Both have needs that must be met for your organization to succeed, and if your company doesn’t tend to those needs then you’ll be left behind. Even a stagnant job market won’t dissuade an unfulfilled employee from looking elsewhere. Research shows employees are more willing in these times to start their own venture and take on entrepreneurial risk rather than work for a company that doesn’t clearly value them or encourage their growth. Meet your employees’ needs by understanding their aspirations and tying those interests into the needs of your organization for growth.

Capitalize on Individuals’ Desire for Self-Improvement

Walk through a bookstore or turn on the television and you’ll be bombarded with products and services from the “self-help” industry. It’s no secret that these items sell because people want to improve themselves -- and that ambition can carry over into the workplace, too, if you make the effort to better understand and develop your employees. Engage an individual goal setting process that clearly defines training, projects, and education that employees desire and align those goals with specific role description requirements and organizational strategic initiatives.

Continuously Work to Build Teams that Mentor

Teams that have clearly defined roles and goals have members who are sharper, more focused, and more willing to contribute at a moment’s notice. Clearly defined roles enable each member to see his/her position in and value to the big picture and to focus on the task at hand. When team members know and understand each other -- including strengths and growth areas -- they can better accept one another and consistently work as the proverbial well-oiled machine. Make employees’ individual goals known throughout the organization. Encourage mentorship and support among team members. The more reliant team members are on one another, the more accountable and motivated employees are to grow and succeed.

Now is the time to invest in people development and employee performance

The work of your people, their flexibility, and their ability to quickly adapt to changing dynamics will sustain long-term success. A leader must understand what makes each person tick and consequently provide meaningful work that engages each employee to achieve predictable and desirable results.

Keeping people engaged in your organization through high levels of purpose, passion, and ownership encourages them to continue to want to be associated with your company. If your employees are not engaged, motivated, and secure then your profitability, morale, and customer service can plummet.

There is no better opportunity than slower times to focus on areas that were neglected and not fully nurtured in the past:

  • Focus on what you do best with a vengeance
  • Reconnect with the specific DNA that makes your business unique
  • Envision how to serve your customers and employees better going forward

In terms of people development that means you need to:

  • Develop career paths for key employees
  • Realign performers to more optimal jobs
  • Implement training programs to support growth goals
  • Take time to hire the right people for growth-focused initiatives
  • Implement assessment tools to better know the skills, talents, and preferences of your employees
  • Conduct performance reviews as a communication vehicle
  • Engage team members as mentors engaged in mutual growth and success

It’s inevitable that any business initiative without committed purpose and supportive people is easily derailed. We’ve developed a unique process -- the Invest People Development Process -- that can improve workforce performance 225%. If you’re interested in learning more contact us.

Comment