Before hiring people I do this...

29th August 2018

In my last blog, I talked about the ROI of investing in people…

…And how too many business owners fail to take into account the hidden cost when they don’t invest in their staff – their biggest asset….

Often turning it into a liability.

On the face of it, this may not be a purely money-related problem, but it has everything to do with the financial performance of your company.

A lack of investment in staff can lead to project delays, unhappy clients, low office morale, low productivity, good people leaving the business, and constant recruitment costs.

So how can you, as a leader, invest in your people so they become productive, engaged and provide a solid return on your investment?

The first answer I usually get when asking this question is: Pay them more!

But while pay is always part of the mix, it often isn’t the main answer.

Leaders often use a pay rise, or bonus, as a crutch when they are not sure what other, non-financial, options they have to motivate people.

In reality, you don’t want people to come to work for the pay. You want and need them to believe in your mission, to love the work they do, and feel a loyalty to your company which goes way beyond their pay check.

And several studies show that while increasing someone’s pay or giving them a bonus does have a short-term effect on morale, it eventually wears off.

Long-term motivation is about your people feeling valued, growing professionally, and feeling part of the team…

…So they, in return, go above-and-beyond for clients, take initiative to streamline business processes and come to you with fresh ideas on how to grow the company.

You need to understand what motivates people and then act on that.

The problem is that it’s impossible to tell what motivates people without engaging in long conversations with individuals who may not immediately know what motivates them...

…And guessing is a waste of time.

That’s why I use something far more tangible – a personality profiling tool.

The Thomas Personal Profile Analysis tool gives a management and development report for each of your employees who take the test.

I use this report before I hire people, to decide how and whether they will fit into the wider team – having the right mix of people is crucial.

Then, once they’re hired, I use it to understand how I can help them feel valued, and how they’re best motivated.

For example, some people are motivated when they hear their boss praise them in front of the team.

Others don’t notice this, but will feel inspired when trusted with new projects for an important client.

Here are some more ideas you can use to motivate people:

- In a team meeting, encourage everyone to participate – it shows each person is valued

- When thanking your employees, talk about their character, not just tasks well done. This appeals to the limbic brain and gives your employees a welcome dopamine rush.

- Don’t assume your people know they can come to you with problems or challenges – make it explicit when you speak to them

It’s ‘soft skills’ like that keep employees with you long-term. They also set you apart as a leader.

And it all comes back to the financial management of your business.

This kind of investment in people doesn’t appear as a line on your annual accounts, but it pays off nonetheless (and can cost you big-time, if you don’t do it).

When you think of these kind of measures as an investment, the return is noticeable – from the mood and energy of the team in the office, to glowing feedback from customers and suppliers.

Motivated employees think nothing of staying late when they’re invested in their job.

Over time, your investment in people adds up. You’re now the leader of a team that works well together and are as excited about growing your company as you are.

If you’d like a complete assessment of your company’s financial performance, hit ‘reply’ to this blog and let’s talk.

Not only will we look at costs and assets which might not be apparent at first glance – like your staff – we’ll help you work out where there are savings and efficiencies to be made….

…And also look at what you can do, to motivate your staff in a truly cost-efficient way.

That way, you’ll know that your staff are an asset…

…And be able to focus on growing your business with a team that works in harmony.

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