Small business owners: The time to attract and retain talent is now

To invest or not invest?

It’s completely counterintuitive. Typically, when rough waters approach in business, we tighten things up. Expenses get scrutinized, unnecessary spending stops, budgets shrink, programs get cut, and everyone is expected to do more with less. This generally works well as an initial approach to managing the fundamentals of the business. However, there are costs involved as a result that you might not be realizing. 

If everyone did the same thing, then the playing field would be level and competition would be relatively easy, but that’s not the case. Many know that a time of crisis is the perfect time to do two things: Make smart training/development investments and be on the lookout for talent.

As you are cutting budgets and expenses, your people are feeling the pressure that they are at risk.  Shrewd business owners know that this is the perfect time to have conversations with top talent that to reassure them of their value. In fact, we encourage it! 

With a relative shortage of top talent in the workplace, we, as business owners, have to take every advantage to find and secure the best of the best. Now is a great time to develop your “people bank” by getting a feel for who else is out there and what they are thinking. You may find your next great employee that way. 

On the flip side, don’t lose sight of the talent you already have. After all, great people leave great companies for three main reasons: They stop learning; they stop growing; and they stop feeling appreciated. It’s a shame that this happens because it’s completely preventable.

As you look around at the current business environment, ask yourself: What has changed? And what will continue to be?  When you find the answers in your business, those are most likely the areas to invest in!

For example, we know that remote working is not going away. CEOs who I’m talking to around the Northeast Indiana area are telling me that they are re-looking at their work-from-home policies and evaluating the gaps in skills, technology, and schedules. They are making decisions as to the how, when, and where of working remotely in the future.

Selling remotely is now more mainstream than ever, too. Sure, a lot of organizations have been doing this for years, but more and more companies are going to have to make investments in their sales teams to give them the processes, methodologies and tools to better sell and compete in remote environments. (You’re likely very familiar with ZOOM these days!)

And the adjustment to remote work is not always easy. Managers who now manage remotely are going to find new challenges in dealing with remote workers than when they previously had them on-site. Accountability will become more challenging and so will results without better tools in their toolbelts.

Sales and management/leadership challenges are just two of the areas that are largely solved with investments in learning and development of your people.  There are likely others, too.

Don’t wait to “come out of this” pandemic to find and make these investments. Instead, do it now, and get ahead of your competition.  You’ll find that you come out stronger than ever! 

If you want a good reference article, Sapana Agarwal is very knowledgeable on this topic, or you can always reach out to us.  We are here to help!

Read more articles by Jim Wilcox.

Jim Wilcox is Founder of the Sandler Performance Centers of Northern Indiana in Fort Wayne and South Bend. He is one of Input Fort Wayne's small business bloggers, sharing his experience during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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