British business magnate and author, Sir Richard Branson says: “Clients do not come first, employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.” In these few words, the founder of the Virgin group aptly sums up the importance of employees for any business.
The adage also implies that businesses, regardless of their size, have to actively invest in employees. And one of the ways to invest in manpower is to help your employees prepare for the future.
Why Prepare for the Future?
There’re several reasons why you should help your employees prepare for the future. But we’ll discuss the top two reasons for helping employees prepare for the future.
The first and most compelling reason is to reduce attrition rates. As newer businesses emerge daily and the startup culture grows at an unprecedented pace, lots of businesses are witnessing high employee attrition rates.
Obviously, no organization can prevent an employee from leaving the job. However, there’re several hidden costs of attrition that most Human Resources and Administration departments are unaware of. One of the high costs of hiring new staff followed by training. Add to this the lower productivity until the new recruit fits fully into the role and starts delivering the expected results.
The second reason is competitiveness. If your business wants to stay relevant and grow amidst rising competition, you need staff that is geared to rise to every challenge the future throws at you. Unless you prepare employees for the future, chances are they’ll cease being your employees and move to companies that are more innovative and modern.
Related: Future of Work in 2020 and Beyond
Therefore, it’s of utmost importance that you find top ways to help your employees prepare for the future.
Top Ways to Prepare Employees for Future
There’re several top ways to prepare employees for the future. If you’re the HR or Administration manager of a business owner, you can easily identify opportunities for preparing employees to meet the future- as individuals, families and as staff members of your organization.
Here are some of these top ways.
Invest in Training & Skills Development
The best way to prepare employees for the future is by investing in their training and skills development. American author and motivational speaker, Harry Hinton, better known as Zig Ziglar says: “The only worse thing than training employees and losing them is not to train them and keep them.” These words make sense in today’s world where we’re seeing technologies develop at an unprecedented pace and newer competitors for every business emerge almost daily.
Unless you train employees and prepare them for the future, chances are they’ll be of scant use to your organization. This, in turn, has a cascade effect: you’ll lose the employees to other organizations that provide training or incorporate the latest technologies. No employee wants their skills to go redundant.
And by retaining employees with old or redundant skills, you’re damaging the entire organization and its business.
Develop Future Leaders
Another top way to help your employees prepare for the future is by developing their leadership skills. Every organization has its own set of internal rules and regulations for promoting people to leadership positions. These usually include performance and seniority.
Often, performance and seniority aren’t adequate to promote an employee for a managerial or leadership role. It takes much more than that.
One of the best ways to develop future leaders is to encourage employees to work on projects by designating one of their peers as the team leader. You’ll definitely observe that employees with leadership skills are able to better execute projects than others.
You can also send employees to represent the organization at various seminars, conferences and other business events. This helps them gain self-confidence and develop better leadership skills.
Develop CSR Programs
You might wonder how a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program can help your employees prepare for the future. In India, most organizations now have CSR programs. And if your company doesn’t have one, it’s better to create something that aims at serving the community.
CSR programs instill a very high sense of social and civic responsibility among employees you involve. They feel proud to represent your organization before the public since a CSR program is usually meant for the underprivileged sections of the society. This builds excellent loyalty towards your company among employees.
Furthermore, allowing employees to participate in CSR activities also provides them an opportunity to interact with other people and create a positive image of your organization. Indeed, they take pride in working for the organization.
These top ways to help your employees prepare for the future are time-tested and proven. And they have been known to benefit every organization that implements one or more of these ways. You can also provide cash incentives, appreciation letters, and other programs for your employees to help foster a sense of belonging.