Nobody can succeed all the time. Failure goes right in hand with success. Warren Buffet is a great example of this. His Berkshire Hathaway fund took a $3.5 billion hit in 1993 when he invested in Dexter Shoes. Buffet claims that this was the worst investment he ever made. Explaining his failure to investors, he humorously quoted country singer Bobby Bare saying, “I’ve never gone to bed with an ugly woman, but I’ve sure woke up with a few.”
Whereas Warren Buffet’s mistake was more to do with financially backing the wrong company, there are businesses out there that could avoid significant financial stress simply by investing more time and effort into their most important asset: their employees. Here are five ways businesses are doing just that.
Career Development for Remote Employees
Companies are increasingly offering remote work arrangements to their employees. It’s a win-win situation because employees enjoy the more flexible work situation, and employers enjoy the reduced business costs by not having them on-site. Unfortunately, because this is a relatively new business practice, most companies have approached the remote workforce with a somewhat “out of sight, out of mind” philosophy, which can lead to stagnated employee development. Smart businesses realize that better engagement with their remote employees by offering them ways to improve or enhance their career development, means better job fulfillment. The happier their employees are, the more productive they are.
A New Appreciation of Millennial Employees
Until 2010, Baby Boomers comprised the largest portion of the world’s population. The U.S. Census Bureau now states that the largest population group is people in their twenties, who are called Millennials. The most common stereotype about Millennials is that they are lazy and self-entitled. However, businesses are quickly realizing that they have to develop a new appreciation of Millennial employees because large numbers of Baby Boomers are heading into retirement and leaving major leadership gaps in their wake. Millennials care about more than just earning a pay check. They want work that matters to them, just like their older counterparts. Companies that invest in their development are having an easier time attracting and retaining quality employees as opposed to the businesses that continue to look down on them.
Gamification is the process of making activities fun and engaging. Gamification can take multiple forms, such as traditional games or digital games. Smartphones and other mobile devices are actively contributing to the reduction of our collective attention spans. Businesses that want to connect with their employees and customers needs are realizing the benefits of making interactions fun. When given the choice between a company that’s perceived as fun and creative versus one that’s perceived as outdated and staid, it’s obvious which company is going to get the best results.
Teaching Selling and Solving Skills to Salespeople
The best salespeople are no longer perceived as being salespeople but more as trusted advisers. The sales process is fast becoming less of a single transaction and more of a multi-transaction process. Companies with an eye on increasing sales need to teach their sales-force to become and behave like subject matter experts. In order to sell, they need to know every last detail about the product and how it can be applied to the consumer’s unique situation. If the consumer doesn’t believe that the product will be able to solve their particular issue, they will more than likely seek another option.
Greater Investment in Natural Strengths
The traditional employee appraisal process puts more emphasis on identifying employees’ weaknesses and overcoming them. However, businesses are beginning to realize that focusing on inherent weaknesses rarely results in an increase in productivity. Instead, they are working on more innovative appraisals in an effort to enhancing existing strengths rather than fix weaknesses. The philosophy behind it is simple: It works by creating a positive effect on employee satisfaction levels. If they are going home at the end of the day feeling valued, they are more likely going to provide better results.
The top business leaders of today recognize that the mental states of their employees are just as important as a positive balance sheet. Ultimately, good businesses are the ones that can adapt and make the necessary changes needed to create a positive environment their employees will thrive under.
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