When do you invest in your employees?


I was speaking with a friend yesterday who had recently started a new job. He was telling me about the 5 week onboarding process he just went through. He said it was intense.

What struck me about the content of the onboarding was that it wasn’t just focused on learning the job. It was largely focused building a successful person.

One aspect he told me about was how they spent time on financial awareness. He said they want their employees to be debt free, to have a sound and solid financial outlook so they could concentrate on their family and their work. I’ve worked for some cool companies who do some cool things, but this was over and above.

As he shared more of the onboarding process, it made me think of how much this company is investing, upfront, in their employees and their success.

If you were to put a dollar figure on it, it might equal what other companies spend, but the timing might be different. So why spend all this time and energy upfront?

How many of us have had employees that seemed to be a perfect fit in the beginning, but ultimately proved us wrong over a period of time?  Or, if we’ve had employees that had outside distractions that prevented them from being a productive employee?  By taking all of the time and care upfront, you certainly save yourself (or minimize) headaches down the road.

Zappos is famous for their company culture and customer service. You may have already heard about a tactic they take upfront with employees… after 4 weeks of onboarding, they give you an out.  If things aren’t working, they will give you a $3000 bonus to leave. Having the right people on board is that important to them.

So if you were too look and WHEN you were spending money on your employees, what does it look like?  You certainly spend time and money to recruit, hire and train them.  If they don’t work out, now you have to spend time and money to replace them.  Are you doing an end of season bonus?  Does it work as intended?  What if you took that money, and some of the money you usually spend in the middle of the season when you have to replace people and beef up your efforts at the beginning of the season?  Maybe that means a more involved hiring process… maybe it means more extensive training… maybe it means hiring an extra supervisor that can help oversee, guide, and motivate your employees?

And I should also mention, this is not just about money.  It’s also about investing your time.  When your employees begin working for is the time when they need you the most.  That’s habit forming time, and you want to make sure they are developing the right habits.

If the efforts of my friends company and Zappos has told me anything, it’s not only HOW MUCH you invest in your employees that counts, it’s also WHEN you invest in them that will give you the greatest results.

Thanks for reading!

Related post: Lessons from Colombia (and even before!)

About the author: Matt writes about the timing of investing in your employees in his book, The Myth of Employee Burnout. Often, having the right person on staff from the get go leads to happier, more productive employees.  But, that doesn’t mean they don’t need guidance from you! Click here to learn how to get your leadership teams ready for the upcoming season!

2 thoughts on “When do you invest in your employees?

  1. This is a great post. Investing in employees leads to success, and I love the idea of delving so deep into it in the on-boarding process. It sets the stage for what the company culture is going to be like. Then carrying that investment on through the lifetime of the employee fosters engaged employees that will walk through fire for you.

    In our company, we have a book club that meets weekly. We’ve covered topics on personal development, financial security (going through some of Dave Ramsey’s material currently), and professional development. Our CEO, David Long, is incredibly passionate about building the people on his team. Its an inspiring place to work.

    • Thanks for the kind words! It is really about investing in your people as much as any other resource in your company – it’s the people that make the real difference! Great to hear you are in such an engaged and inspiring culture!!

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