Did you know that, according to ASTD, US organizations spend upwards of $130 billion per year on developing their people? That’s a huge investment. For reference, that is about as much as the annual GDP of New Zealand! Yet human capital is our most critical asset, now more than ever. Though US organizations make a significant investment, it really should be more. We spend well over double that amount every year on advertising in the US. For organizations that wish to stick around and grow, human capital investment is a must. But why does it matter? I’ll throw four reasons your way. These aren’t the only reasons, but they are the four I find most intriguing.
INCREASED PRODUCT QUALITY: Investing in the growth of your people means increased knowledge, experience, and engagement. This leads to all kinds of benefits for your products, especially if you are in the business of intellectual capital. New creativity, more efficient engineering, more effective results, and a better understanding of the customer can all easily be results of investing in your people.
INCREASED BRAND SUPPORT: If you want your brand to be synonymous with quality people, great customer support, and ingenuity, then invest in your people and their development. Growing your people will do wonders for your brand. Maybe even more than that $300+ billion a year we spend on advertising.
INCREASED COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE: Competitive advantages today will increasingly be found in the achievements of your people. Informed and savvy consumers will not purchase exclusively upon our now mundane “advantages” like price or “feature count”. Furthermore, almost every organization now must create and innovate to stay relevant. Your competitive advantage will only increase as you increase the knowledge and skill set of your people.
INCREASED ENGAGEMENT: Studies will show that investing in your people will significantly increase engagement and decrease voluntary turnover. In times when managers are continually asked to do more with less, swinging investment of time and money into your people will pay you returns. It will require some level of patience, but the increased engagement from your employees will significantly support the bottom line. Studies show that engaged employees are safer, more customer friendly, easier to manage, and stick around longer.
What have you found to be the advantages of developing your people, or being developed by your company?