Make a resolution to improve your team this year: here’s how

Imagine this familiar scenario: it’s January 1st. As you set resolutions for 2020, you tell yourself you’ll go to the gym more. You’ll lose weight. And you’ll start following the popular low-carb, high-fat Keto diet. So you pay for the gym membership, you stock your fridge with cheese and salami, and you buy a $45/month Keto-friendly subscription box.

January 12th rolls around and instead of the idealistic “resolution-driven” life you’ve imagined, you’re on the couch bingeing on Netflix with pizza in hand as dust accumulates on your running shoes. You realize you couldn’t even last 12 days, much less a whole year, and you immediately feel like a failure. 

But what if you considered an alternative path?

As business leaders and small business owners, thinking differently about yearly change is beneficial. Instead of self-focused resolutions, consider a commitment to the well-being of your employees.

Make a resolution to invest in your team this year 

In a recent article by Lindsay Gaskins, President at CCA Global Partners (one of the largest cooperatives in America), she suggests business leaders adopt a different kind of resolution this year. 

“What if in 2020, we as business leaders decided to have the resolution to improve our teams’ skill set and knowledge by providing the tools, training, and opportunities for our team members to improve themselves. The outcome of this type of New Year’s resolutions is a win-win for both our team members and our businesses.”
Lindsay Gasksins
Lindsay Gasksins
President, New Business Ventures | CCA Global Partners

It’s hard to argue with a win-win. So what does investing in your team look like? There are numerous ways to invest in your people, even if you’re on a tight budget like most companies are during Q1.

Where to look for accessible professional development opportunities

Investing in your team doesn’t always have to cost a lot of money. Consider these suggestions to add some spark to your people, productivity, and maybe even your profits.

Online Resources

There are a wide variety of online training courses and e-learning sites that can deepen an employee’s skill set while supporting development. Show that you’re willing to expend energy furthering an employee’s growth. In many cases, the online courses are free or moderately priced.  

Here are some suggestions

  • Access 2500+ online courses from institutions like Harvard and MIT in everything from statistics and data science to supply chain management, Six Sigma, project management, and more.
  • Now owned by Linkedin, offers thousands of courses on everything from specific software and management topics, to web design and marketing.
  • With affordable plans and plenty of courses, Udemy provides actionable learning that many leading organizations find great value in.

Networking and Conferences

Employees will feel more like valued team members if they are connected to your business network. I remember how thrilled I was to attend my first trade show, tagging along behind the head buyer. I worked as a dedicated employee for many years. It was well worth their investment.

There may be conferences in your area that don’t require air travel. See if you can find one to attend as a team. If nothing else, coordinate a professional lunch with colleagues or business partners.

Create a Nurturing and Inquisitive Environment

Investing in your team can be as simple as making them feel included and intellectually stimulated. Start a team book club and provide copies of the book to employees, then discuss over lunch. Or start a series of learning lunches and have members of your team share about different topics like their spoon carving hobby or a recent trip to Ethiopia. Invite interesting people to come in and give a lunch talk on a variety of topics.

The bottom line here is making your team feel invested in by providing a forum for discussion and development.

If you don’t have time to give them helpful feedback, what message does that send?

Rethink Your Employee Evaluation Process

Sometimes running a small business is so consuming that you can’t fathom spending time doing quarterly or year-end employee evaluations. But stop for a minute and think about how that makes the employee feel. If you don’t have time to give them helpful feedback, what message does that send?

Carve out time to sit down with each employee you manage. Give them feedback on performance, areas for improvement, and a raise/bonus if at all possible. It is equally important to give them time to voice concerns.

As you continue running your small business, keep your employees at the center of your decision-making process. And as you invest in your team, you’ll see a positive impact both to them and to the future of your company.

Looking for more advice?

Overcome the challenges facing small to medium sized businesses with help from some of the expert advice below…