Updated: Oct 28, 2020
A fellow entrepreneur was sharing pandemic parabolic stories, “Investing in my people and thinking of them as people saved my business.”
Ever since teams of people started holding business meetings in their living room, the need for corporate and small business leadership to invest in their people differently seems abundantly clear, yet underutilized.
Keeping staff is key to your business success. Because of the powerful pandemic shifts, we’ve seen the larger landscape of business migrate digitally, navigate shutdowns, and furlough or reduce employee counts.
These things have transformed the business landscape, not just from a top-or-bottom-line perspective, but from the human capital and social capital lens. If people are what powers your business, there are many ways that their emotions, physical and mental state can dramatically impact your business.
The costs of employee turnover are astounding, and are often completely off radar and awareness levels because of how nondescript they may be. Some studies estimate that the additional cost of turning over one employee is equal to 6-9 months of their salary! And that’s not saying anything about optimizing performance and engagement.
So, if keeping your team is a key metric of your short and long term future, especially if you want to keep your costs low and team culture consistent (because hopefully it’s already strong), investing in one if not all of these retention factors should be a justifiable expense.
Workplace Vulnerability and Empathy
Lauded as a strong corporate decision, a recent video by Simon Sinek shares that empathy and vulnerability do more than support open conversation. They allow us to connect, relate, and build trust with the members of our teams. Being vulnerable is simply about being able to share emotions, struggles, and realities.
Fostering psychological safety in the workplace means people will report problems sooner. They will take credit for their mistakes. They will have the confidence and support to challenge ideas. If they don’t feel safe enough to do so, they may completely shy away from these types of dialogues - and those dialogues will ultimately help your company become stronger and more successful.
Remember, people are not statistics or metrics. Too often, companies lead with the metrics that their people represent and forget that every person is a complicated blend of emotions, stories, dreams and fears that drive those numbers.
In 2019, the WHO performed a study reporting that anxiety and depression cost the global economy $1 trillion per year due to lost productivity.
Considering the elevated feelings of anxiety and depression in 2020, the need for workplace vulnerability, empathy training, financial wellness, and mental health benefits is more compelling by the day. People are fueled by their emotions. If you want to increase the metrics of your company, put more fuel in the tank of your workforce by helping them solve the problems they are having inside and outside of work.
Vulnerability is one of the factors that contribute to a healthy work environment, and to workers feeling willing to ask for what they want, challenge ideas, and build your business in meaningful ways - and is a cornerstone of any other benefit you may offer.
Another important key to the success of your business, financial wellness is about relieving financial stress in your team. If you’ve ever had a financial crisis (pandemic not included - think car crash, medical bill, family emergency type of crisis!) looming over your head, you may have also experienced the daze that comes with the feeling of instability.
Financial wellness programs compliment existing 401k or retirement and benefit plans, and ultimately give your team a sense of clarity and purpose with their money. In 2019, an estimated 74% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, depending on who you ask and when you ask (per recent reports from both the American Payroll Association and the National Endowment for Financial Education. It would be logical to expect to see this increase because of pandemic influence.
Even if you provide your team with above average salaries, laying off people or downsizing the company can send a ripple of fear and stress through the ranks, which financial wellness programs aim to absolve.
Employees are “9X more likely to stay with their company for three or more years when they feel their organization cares about them as individuals,” according to a report by the Limeade Institute.
Financial wellness programs have proven to improve a company’s culture, increase production, and add to your retention, which seems sensible. When you suggest to your team that you’re invested in their financial future and help them alleviate financial issues or challenges, they won’t just stick around, they will be able to take a breath of fresh air and focus more. These programs may also help in recruiting young talent as well.
Imagine if you could invest a small amount of money (say a few hundreds) in your staff in a way that resulted in creating thousands of future dollars for them! Not only will they feel better about their future and their current financial situation, but they will certainly look forward to continuing their working relationship with you - because you have shown them you’re invested in them as humans and as contributors to your success.
Diversity and Inclusion
Understanding, consideration, and sensitivity to systemic forces that preclude everyone from achieving or finding work opportunities is an important part of an engaging work environment. We are currently in a divisive moment in time. As civic engagement and the uncertainty of the future continues to unfold, your team will be faced with opportunities for discussions about their differing views, and they will need to engage with respect.
But more than that, diversity and inclusion practices help your team welcome initiatives to be more racially and culturally diverse, which leads to a 35% chance of outperforming competitors, according to McKinsey’s 2015 “Diversity Matters” report.
As our teams continue to bring individuals from different walks of life together to solve our most challenging business problems, having this kind of training can keep your team open and make sure our verbal and nonverbal language don’t create rifts.
According to HR Professional Josh Bersin, inclusive workplaces bring in 2.3 times more money per worker than less-inclusive companies over 3 years.
This kind of training, like the two above, are all about awareness and personal development. If you’re expanding your business, it’s time to consider that the way forward involves individuals from various backgrounds, and that the only way to properly align this with your corporate mission, values, and culture is to help you staff develop a method of healthy communication.
The clear upside to this kind of personal investment into your team and employees would suggest that these are longtime practices that are embedded deep into corporate culture and benefits plans. However, these are all recent to the party of provided benefits, and are evolving steadily.
While we recommend that employers consider the traditional bottom-line ROI to these kinds of programs, there are intangible benefits associated with each of them.
If we can help with vulnerability and financial wellness programs (our workshops and online suite focus on the intersection of the two) investments, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re also happy to help you find a provider in the space, even if we’re not the best fit.
Ultimately, we stand for these kinds of programs being launched, and would be happy to be a part of your benefit strategy so that you can see the returns in your workforce sooner rather than later.
Get more insights into Financial Education for yourself, your team, and your family by clicking on Audiences above.
Aaron Velky is the CEO & Co-Founder of Ortus Academy
If you would like to know more about our Employee Financial Wellness Programs, visit: www.OrtusAcademy.com/b2b