Why invest in your employees? To help your people grow. And to encourage the best and brightest to stay with you (and attract the best and brightest to join you). They are the ones who are most interested in growing, so whichever organization invests in them will be highly attractive to them. What might this “investment” look like? Here are some ideas – I’m interested in hearing what you’ve done.
- Professional skills training, including trade schools. To help them become a master electrician (for your maintenance personnel, or for an electrical contractor), certified supply chain professional (for a manufacturer or distributor), or certified therapist (for a social services agency) whatever is appropriate for their field of interest.
- Continuing education at a local community college or university, including advanced degrees. Suggestion: Reimburse their tuition, fees, and books as long as they earn a grade of B or better. Does this study or degree need to be directly applicable to their current position? Your choice.
- Life skills, such as budgeting and financial planning, or parenting, or relationships. Some people have been fortunate to learn these skills from parents or others as they grow up; others have not been so fortunate. The classes should be after hours with snacks furnished. You could also open these free classes to family members. How do you know what to offer? Ask your people.
- For budgeting and financial planning, you can bring in a banker. You can start with an informal survey to learn what specific topics would be of greatest interest. For example, how to manage credit cards, how to reduce debt, how to save for a house, how to improve a credit score (and why that matters), how to make a financial plan (and how to stick with it).
- For parenting, perhaps someone from a local social service agency or a group of parents and grandparents could lead the sessions. The topics can be targeted at the ages of the children, plus family dynamics.
- For relationship improvement, you can bring in a therapist. Topics could include how to disagree constructively, how to make decisions when different values are involved, how to regain trust when it has been broken, how to communicate (and how to listen to the other).
- ESL classes also fit this category.
I really like “life skills” category – the gain is so great, and the cost is so small! Even if only 5-6 people show up, the rest of your organization (and the community) will be aware that you’re offering these classes – and you’ll earn one more plaudit as “an organization that cares about its people”.