This week we saw a quote circulating on social media that struck a chord:
CFO asks CEO: “What happens if we invest in developing our people and they leave us?”
CEO: “What happens if we don’t, and they stay?”
Investing in the development of your people is never without risk – but it’s certainly less of a risk than not doing so.
Of course there is a chance that the development and growth people experience when you invest in their learning and advancement might see them outgrow the role they are in – and that growth occasionally leads them to look outside of your organisation for their next step.
But, during that process of growth and development, you have benefitted from their growth, from the new skills and behaviours they’ve incorporated into their work, and from the impact that has had on the team around them.
It has also shown all of the people within your organisation how willing you are to invest in their growth and success, and to offer a transition through the ranks as far as possible.
The more investment you make in the people who work for you, the more investment they are willing and able to give you in return – which is not only beneficial to their own development, but to the growth and development of your entire organisation, and to the forward-motion of your achievements and goals.
The worst thing you can do is refrain from investing in growth and development at all, for fear of losing the people who you have spent money developing. If you truly believe that people might leave if they progress, you need to look at what it is they are seeking, and then find ways to offer opportunities for those next steps and career development within your walls.
Refusing to invest in their development not only holds them back, stagnating in a position and level of experience that never expands their horizons, but it also means they are – in the very act of standing still – falling behind, as their peers in other organisations continue to grow, to learn, to progress, and to embrace the changes of new technologies, methodologies and approaches that lead to innovation and growth.
Innovation is the drive that leads to any organisation’s longevity. If you never adapt, you can’t maintain your position in a world that is constantly evolving. No matter what industry you are in, the rest of the world is changing around you. If you don’t invest in finding ways that you, too, can evolve, you will slip further and further behind your competitors simply by standing still.
If your workforce aren’t developing, they can’t maintain the rate of growth required simply to maintain your current position, success rate and reputation. If they see your unwillingness to invest in them, they also question what they get in return for their work, time, energy and passion – and those things begin to fade.
Employees are, after all, far more than simply a tool you utilise to get something done. Employment should be mutually beneficial – you, as the organisation, benefitting from the insight, experience and skills of your people – and they in return benefitting from the satisfaction of knowing their achievements and contributions are significant, have an impact on the success of the organisation, and they are appreciated.
If this relationship is imbalanced, people either let the lack of satisfaction impact on the quality of their work – simply going through the motions without innovative or progressive impact – or they look elsewhere for an employer who will appreciate their contribution and stretch them beyond the scope you’ve allowed.
People want to grow, to expand, to see reward for their efforts – and the more that you can provide an environment which provides this, the more benefit you will see, the more engagement you will see in your people, the more ideas and enthusiasm and growth you will experience as an organisation, and your commitment to their growth and job satisfaction is repaid in their commitment to your success in return.
Rather than seeing the relationship between you and your employees as a transaction – you pay them, they do as they are asked – see it as a partnership. They work not only for the financial reward of ‘being employed’ – but for the additional benefits, the satisfaction and reward of growth, development, experience, acclaim, success – and seeing their work impact positively on the growth and success of their team, the wider workforce, and the organisation as a whole.
And if you have invested in the development of someone who then moves on to new pastures, you have benefitted from their growth as it took place, and allowed an opportunity to open for someone else’s experience to advance further still. There is no loss, simply a repositioning of knowledge, experience and skills which may see someone promoted to a new opportunity to grow – and the benefits of this newest person to climb the ladder have further positive impacts on the organisation.
Don’t let your team stagnate. Don’t let your organisation stagnate. Don’t let a fear of what could happen block the benefits of growth, learning and development.
Download our brochure here, and find out more about the programmes we have developed to help your leaders create a culture of growth, development and success in your organisation – or call our consultant team on 01234 757575 to discuss your goals, your concerns, and the ways we can help you to progress.