By Nick Strain, CFP®, CPWA®,  CEPA®, AIF® Senior Wealth Advisor at Halbert Hargrove

From layoffs to furloughs to closures, perhaps no area has been hit harder from the pandemic than our workforce. As reopening continues, it is time to reaffirm our commitment to the people who are the backbone of our businesses. It is more important than ever for every business, large and small, to celebrate and empower their employees through actional steps, including internal programs and initiatives, to succeed in achieving the ambitious growth we’re aiming for over the next several years.

Investing in one another: Actionable tactics

It is essential to invest in one another. Why? Because investments pay dividends, especially when it comes to your employees. Creating a culture that reflects inclusivity, innovation, and growth will foster an environment employees are excited to contribute to.

Here are a few examples of how to empower and engage your employees that all businesses—regardless of their size—should consider adopting to make employees feel understood, respected, and rewarded.

Freedom to innovate, excel, and grow

Having the freedom to innovate and excel gives employees room to grow. By giving employees the freedom to research new, promising investment approaches, technology, and best practices that will make a difference to clients, professionals will be more committed to business growth by making a lasting impact.

Encouragement, praise, and recognition are all critical for employees, but so are tangible incentives. Businesses of all sizes should consider implementing an appropriate version for their teams to increase employee engagement:

  • Professional education: For some, obtaining an advanced degree or professional designation are important considerations for remaining at a firm. Making these opportunities accessible to your employees and helping them achieve their professional ambitions through degrees or certifications can not only help you retain employees but attract new talent.
  • Career track development and planning: By clearly defining both the current role and career track for a professional, businesses can provide the right tools to help their employees build their skills and achieve their career goals. For example, detailing available educational opportunities or what specialization and expertise is required at different employment levels will allow young professionals to plan for the future.
  • Mentoring: Connecting employees with an in-house mentor can empower your rising professionals. Having a contact outside of their team and department is invaluable as they navigate the professional landscape.
  • Company-wide trainings: While providing individual growth opportunities is vital, supplying company-wide trainings helps further the businesses’ education and can serve as a point of connection for all employees to come together. For example, offering a seminar on sales training or other relevant topics that make use of breakout sessions is an excellent way to keep employees engaged and further their knowledge.
  • Leadership education: Life-long learning is a central aspect of being a well-respected leader. Attending programs such as Emerging Leaders sponsored by BlackRock provides an opportunity to gain incredible insights from a range of speakers. In addition, sharing ideas with other professionals can afford a different perspective about improving the dynamics of your firm and strengthening your culture.

Now more than ever before, employees are the heart of your business. They interact with customers, drive outcomes, and can ultimately serve as part of your succession plan. Although investing capital in your employees may seem like an unnecessary cost, taking a long-term view of what that investment will mean for your business will show it’s worth it. In other words, you reap what you sow, and I suggest sowing empowerment.

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