Invest in employeesIt’s pretty much a given—whether investing in your health through a regular exercise program, in your future through intelligent money management, or in your children’s future by helping them get the best education possible—investing is prudent. As a leader, investing in your employees is key. Admittedly, this is not a new concept, but as John Hall points out in a recent Forbes article, it is an undertaking that can be approached in an innovative way. Hall identifies the following creative approaches for cultivating loyalty and increased performance within your workforce.

Thought Leadership

Everyone likes to feel like they’re on top of their game, providing thoughtful commentary and actionable items to those around them. Your employees are no different—take steps to let them shine. Allowing an employee the opportunity to develop and demonstrate her expertise can be a big motivator for her and in turn reflect positively on your organization.

In an article for HBR, strategy consultant Dorie Clark outlined six steps for attaining this status:

  1.  Create a robust presence online
  2. Flaunt high-quality affiliations
  3. Give public speeches
  4. Appear on TV
  5. Win some awards
  6. Publish a book

Personal Branding

Once you’ve got your employees out in the public arena as thought leaders, it’s time to capitalize on their efforts. Encourage them to think about their personal brand: What are your aspirations? How do people perceive you? What do you want your personal brand to convey?

Promote the content that valued employees generate and the awards they receive by encouraging them to develop their personal brand through LinkedIn connections and other social media sites. People like to work with people they know and trust. If your employees have name recognition and credibility, the benefits of that personal branding will likely extend to the company’s brand as well.

Unique Culture Benefits

Retirement accounts and insurance coverage are pretty standard fare in the benefit world, but what about offering some perks that employees will enjoy and talk about to others? Hall devotes an entire article to unusual perks for employees, from a company beer to on-site daycare and mobile grooming for company employees’ canines. Think outside the box here— inventive perks can be a great way to reward current employees and possibly attract new ones.

Personal Time Investments

This step is tough, Hall admits, but to his mind it’s also critical. Making it a priority to spend quality one-on-one time with employees is time consuming, but it also pays long-term dividends. Getting to know someone builds trust in a relationship, which in turn makes employees feel more invested in the company and more inclined to take ownership of day-to-day operations so that senior management can focus on long-range goals and strategies.

Network Expansion

Help your employees develop their personal networks by introducing them to influential people you know. “A spread effect will occur,” Halls notes, “they’ll develop the relationship and often turn it into an opportunity you might have missed.”

In today’s business environment, the war for talent is alive and well, and anything leadership can do to engender employee loyalty and commitment to the company will fall to the bottom line. If you want your company to stand out, don’t forget to invest some time and energy and helping your employees stand out. In the end, everyone wins.

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