“If you start chipping away at your corporate culture, you might just lose your most valuable asset – your employees.” — Misti Burmeister
Most leaders cannot compute investing in their people, particularly when the market shifts. Yet, just like the best time to invest in the stock market is when it’s on its way down, economic downturns are a great time to invest in your people.
I recently had lunch with Pete, a chef and catering-company owner. He had prepared us a delicious meal, and as we ate our soup, he began telling me about the ingredients. Suddenly he popped up, ran off to the kitchen, and returned with a spice of some sort.
He opened the little jar and shook out one of the pods, which resembled a small green bean. As he cracked it open to show me the seeds inside, it slipped from his hand and fell onto the floor.
He picked it up, handed it to me, and said, “Rub it between your fingers and then smell them.”
After I’d done so, he tossed the pod back into the jar.
Wow, I thought, looking at my bowl of soup. Is he really going to use that after it’s been on the floor?
I am not a germaphobe. Growing up with a mechanic father and mother who loved barely-cooked chicken, I was exposed to plenty of dirt, grease and germs, and I survived just fine. But still … I had just rubbed my finger oils into that thing!
When we finished our lunch, Pete handed our leftovers to one of the chefs and mumbled something about reusing the ingredients.
Though I like leftovers, I won’t be referring him. I can only imagine what other corners he would cut to save a penny.
While challenging times can require us to trim fat from our budgets, it’s critical to first understand the impact. Just like cutting corners on cleanliness cost Pete new business, cutting corners on seemingly-small things like employee feedback, company parties, and employee development can cost us talented team members.
As you’re considering budget cuts, ask yourself: What’s the long-term impact of this cut? What does this activity do for the team as a whole? And what would happen if I invested in my team now?
Yes, making payroll and keeping the lights on are your top business priorities. But beyond that, nothing is as important as corporate culture. And if you start chipping away at it, you might just lose your most valuable asset – your employees. On the other hand, if you invest when the market is low, your efforts could net you a much greater return. Keeping it simple,
Misti Burmeister, best-selling author of From Boomers to Bloggers: Success Strategies Across Generations, Hidden Heroes and Power Suck.