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Julia Hammond
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Why more businesses are investing in their people

If you read about the top companies most Australians want to work for, you’ll see that they have one common theme that makes them the top employers: they invest in their people. From flexible working arrangements to paid parental leave and time off on your birthday, it’s the little things that contribute to employee satisfaction.

Research shows that your team can be your best asset. Satisfied employees are 12% more productive than average people while unhappy workers were 10% less productive [1]. Finding budget to invest in your people may be a challenge for small marketing budgets but there are some simple things you can do to increase employee satisfaction.

Ongoing training

We’re often advised to start looking for a new job once we stop learning in our current role. But training doesn’t have to come at a cost of thousands of dollars. Networking events, business meetups and free workshops can be a great place to start if training isn’t in your marketing budget. Staff development could come from ‘Lunch and Learn’ sessions where you and the team discuss a piece of research or an industry-related book everyone has read.

Regardless of what life stage your business is at, ask your team to get involved. Ask your team what skills they’d like to learn and work out ways to help them grow.

Small perks and incentives

Employee satisfaction and salary aren’t always synonymous. A study from Princeton University [2] showed that a high income only increases employee happiness up until a specific salary bracket, proving that money doesn’t always equal satisfaction. It’s why top companies are looking to other incentives to offer. For example, Deloitte has a pilot program for people returning to work after parental leave, including training, mentoring and support for 20 weeks. The Commonwealth Bank of Australia has a staff financial wellbeing program to help manage everyday expenses [3].

When it comes to organising incentives, it pays to get a little creative. Bonuses don’t always have to be cash. Look into additional days off, holidays, gym memberships, free lunches or a points systems to get discounted purchases.

Drive engagement with culture

Full-time employees spend the majority of their time at work, their engagement in the workplace matters. Yet research shows that only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged at work [4]. Numerous research has shown that high employee engagement can influence bottom line results [5].

If low engagement is a challenge for your business, focus on finding the solution. Organise weekly or monthly team lunches, take the team out of the office with a team building exercise. Consider giving employees time to work on personal projects that matter to them (including volunteer days), or organising hackathons for them to work on new ideas together. You can also recognise dates that are important to team members, such as International Women’s day, RUOK day and Earth day, to name a few. The most important thing here is to extend the invitation to participate to everyone in your employ.

The future of work is quickly changing with the evolving needs of our workforce. Now is a great time to look into how you can attract and retain top talent.

[1] https://www.theaustralian.com.au/life/columnists/ruth-ostrow/benefits-of-a-happy-workplace-flow-to-the-employees-and-company/news-story/7707e742abab6ac031b8de788b23b510

[2] https://hbr.org/2017/01/what-matters-more-to-your-workforce-than-money

[3] https://www.smh.com.au/business/workplace/the-perks-offered-by-the-companies-australians-most-want-to-work-for-20180327-p4z6ir.html

[4]  https://hbr.org/2018/04/research-shows-a-simple-way-to-increase-your-engagement-at-work

[5] https://www.forbes.com/sites/joefolkman/2017/05/18/according-to-research-heres-the-single-key-to-improving-employee-engagement/#72362b6f57df

By Cassidy SpencerJulia Hammond

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