Employees clapping and being recognized by manager
Employees clapping and being recognized by manager

team up for success: why investing in your people wins

What’s your employee investment worth? Here’s a hint from Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group: “Take care of your employees and they'll take care of your business.”

But exactly which employee investments are the most relevant and beneficial today? The work-scape has changed dramatically in the past four years: an estimated 22% of American employees are expected to be remote by 2025, for example.1 This presents new challenges for training, network-building, and other common employee investment areas.2

Engaged employees tend to be more communicative and motivated, and motivated workers typically go beyond what is expected of them. Eight in 10 staff members who are highly engaged want to work harder, and they credit their employers for their innovation.14

The 2024 employee investment strategy should follow the employee’s path through daily life, regardless of work "place." Here are four ways doing so will pay off, plus some insider investment tips.

Payoff 1 – Employees who want to stick with you

The median tenure for the typical private-sector employee in the U.S. is 3.7 years; fewer than three years if the worker is younger than 34.3

But that doesn’t exactly mean they’re fully present and productive for those three or so years: Six in 10 employees have “quiet quit,” or are psychologically disengaged with work. Disengaged employees cost employers an estimated $8.8 trillion globally,4 while engaged, happy employees can improve company profits by 21%.5

Investment tip: Make a good first impression by ensuring the onboarding process emphasizes company strengths and opportunities. Research shows effective employee onboarding can improve retention by 82% and productivity by more than 70%.6

Payoff 2 – Employees who just perform better

Workers who have been invested in tend to give back through higher performance and productivity. Those who feel detached from their jobs can cost their employers $3,400 for every $10,000 in salary.7 Detached and disengaged employees are far less productive or collaborative than those that are highly engaged.

Job stress is a leading performance inhibitor, and 44% of employees said they experienced work stress in the previous day. These workers could regain confidence through development-based training that guides them through next-step skills, expanding their opportunities (upskilling). Confidence fosters engagement, and engaged workers are 17% more productive.8

Investment tip: Training includes coaching, mentoring, and self-directed learning options – with an emphasis on remote workers so they don’t miss opportunities. All of which requires listening. In order for training to be effective, a business has to provide training on the topics and areas of the industry that their employees are interested in and need to be effective in their roles. Four in five workers want to learn more about integrating artificial intelligence in their jobs, for example.9

Payoff 3 – You attract top-shelf talent

In 2023, it took employers, on average, a staggering 11 weeks to fill a job. And right now, more than half of all their employees are watching or actively looking for new ones. Among the reasons: to grow and develop.10, 11

High-achieving people choose positions that promise growth because they want their work to have purpose. But note: 61% of workers think a purposeful workplace includes personal wellbeing. This means an investment in work-life balance.12

Investment tip: Widen the talent pool by offering competitive workplace flexibility – 79% of employees now prioritize such options (that ramps up to nearly 84% of Millennials and Gen Z).13 Be sure to alert remote workers to training and advancement opportunities so they don’t feel left out.

Payoff 4 – Enhanced innovation and creativity

Engaged employees tend to be more communicative and motivated, and motivated workers typically go beyond what is expected of them. Eight in 10 staff members who are highly engaged want to work harder, and they credit their employers for their innovation.14

Because productivity is rewarding, it encourages continuous improvement. Employees will be more responsive to feedback and adapt as needed, reinforcing teamwork and greater opportunities for creative innovation.

Investment tip: Integrate cross-training opportunities into the work culture, using employee input on new tools and technologies they’d like to master. Be frank about expectations, and the investment.

Specialized solutions

In 2020, Sir Richard Branson gave his 70,000 Virgin Group employees a $250 million pay package to help them through the Covid-19 pandemic. That’s an unthinkable sum for most business owners today, but what matters more is how you invest what you can afford. You may be able to afford to invest in more soft benefits than you think. Things like working from home, free food at the office, a gym, or time off to volunteer are all things you can consider.

Work is a big part of life. When employees know you care about both, they’ll take care of you.

If you think your employees would benefit from more work-life balance, enroll them in First Financial’s free financial wellness program.