We all want similar things no matter what industry or business we’re in. We want a healthy turnover, an even healthier profit and a growing client base. Prioritising such company attributes seems an easy job when you first look at your goals as a business. So where do you place investing in people? Do you feel that it is a priority – to invest in your employees? What figure do you put on your teams feeling valued at work?
During recent years of relentless cutbacks and tightening of budgets, it has been many companies strategy to cutback on staff investment, the creation of new positions and training, team building and team development. Whilst these companies made tough cutbacks, a select few decided to go against the grain and invest more money than ever before in their people, specifically in training and development.
One such company is Apple who has just topped Fortune’s list of Most Admired Companies for the seventh year in a row and just so happened to score most generously in the ‘people management’ category. Through the recession Apple continued to position innovation, people management and social responsibility at the core of the company. It was such attributes that resulted in them being rated most admired company. It seems no coincidence that other market leaders on this list also scored highly in people management, including Walt Disney and Facebook.
During the recession, many businesses focused on survival. But for those with foresight to prioritise their people management, not only are they ‘surviving’, they are soaring above the competition and the gap between those who have invested in people against those who didn’t is becoming wider and more significant by the day.
Companies that have ‘survived’ may still be surviving but what about their staff, the foundations of their business, and their future? Unless people feel valued and invested in, they will leave and likely end up at a competitor that do focus on development, leaving those lacking in such investment at the wayside. Phil Smith, Cisco Systems UK CEO, expresses in HR Grapevine that it is not only acquiring talent which is important but keeping talent in a fast paced changing industry is what is needed to be successful in 2014.
It appears to be such an obvious priority, to be admired as a company and to invest in your people regardless of how tough the economic climate is. Measuring the direct impact of people investment, their levels of motivation and company success is more obvious at the big picture level over a period of time. There are also ways in which to measure the success of individual and team motivation improvement over a shorter period of time and even from a single intervention. Team leaders should always be looking to measure the success of an intervention with a view to confirming their ROI.
One thing that we can learn from Fortune’s Most Admired list and from our market leaders is that in the race to gain future customers, the greater the company’s investment in its people, the greater its chances of long term sustainable growth.