When we started our firm back in 2006 we didn’t know what to expect—where the journey would take us, who we would meet, or what the future would look like. All we knew is that we were motivated to help businesses improve their business and being part of that is something very exciting, let me tell you.
Jump to 10 years later and we have a whole team of people helping us share our vision with businesses. This team is a strong one, made of people with their own personalities and needs. That is why when I faced the possibility of losing one of the team, I was incredibly sad—not because the person was leaving, but because I failed to provide an environment that he needed in order to stay.
I was challenged with asking myself how important is it to invest in my team and how it has a direct impact on my company’s productivity.
So what did I do to engage the team? I paid more, offered an annual performance bonus, bought them beer and pizza. But guess what?! That didn’t work. It was all short term gain for long term pain. I learned that people want to feel that they are cared for by their leadership, that they matter and are part of something, and that their opinion has an impact. There is no amount of money that can give people that, it comes from management.
So, to show that I cared for the team, I moved us to a more comfortable office so my people have a great place to work. I also made sure the team had what they needed to work comfortably (physically and systematically). A good chair seems a simple investment but a valuable one if your employees sit at a desk for the majority of their day. A good system (a.k.a. the right technology) with the necessary tools also allows the team to do their jobs without hiccups or downtime. As much as we think people want to hang around the water-cooler shooting the breeze, when the pressure goes up and we provide them with the tools they need, they will perform magic.
Finally, I remind my team that they are the reason we have a decade in this business; they are part of the vision for the company and what they think matters. They like to stay busy so I feed their pipeline and give them fun and easy tools to work with. I see investing in my team and using the right technology, not as an expense but as enabling my people to do something they want to do—work, produce and help clients.
Next time you shoot down an idea from an employee, look at another aspect of the investment, what will it do for productivity? THAT is where the real money is, my friends!