Leanne Adamson, marketing manager Abode, explains why investing in your staff, and making sure they feel valued, can help you build a more successful business

Invest in your people and they’ll invest in you F

utureproofing has never been so important for businesses, but if 2020 taught us anything, it’s that being able to predict what the future will hold – or what curve balls life might throw at us along the way – with absolute certainty is not possible. What is in our hands though is the opportunity to create

a good degree of stability, so that when the foundations are rocked, business can continue. One of the most effective ways of doing this is through our staff and our attitudes as employers.

At Abode, our people really are our brand. We’ve invested in them and, as a consequence, they are people who are invested in our business. That doesn’t mean simply paying a fair salary, championing flexible working and offering a pension, although these are important. But that’s not what will set you and your staff apart. It is about investing time and valuing the opinions of the people you employ, taking their feedback on board and putting it into action wherever appropriate. According to

Investors In People (IIP),

Employers who get [staff support] wrong not only suffer the

performance consequences but also see a detrimental impact on the well-being of their employees

this is an

attitude that is proven to be essential in delivering sustainable results, especially in a crisis, with the pandemic having a huge impact on how we work and making this investment arguably even more important than ever. Working from home, juggling childcare, a lack of social contact, furloughing and concerns about the health of loved ones are all taking their toll, making looking out for the well-being of staff a top priority for employers. Simply maintaining an open dialogue and adapting quickly and positively to any changes helps staff feel valued. Statistics from IIP suggest that organisations that lead, support and develop their workforce effectively are 17% more productive and 21% more profitable. Employers who get this wrong not only suffer the performance consequences, but also see a detrimental impact on the well-being of their employees. The Abode story is about more than just our end

products. It’s about the people behind those products, the staff who have the ideas, the colleagues that make them a reality, the people that sell them – the list goes on. This is what gives a business sustainable results and now more than ever, this is what is important. If your staff feel empowered and involved, they will be motivated to deliver your brand objectives and will be committed to the business. People don’t just join businesses for money or career development alone.

Staff retention Staff retention is an investment that manufacturers can’t afford to ignore, because the benefits filter through to customers and help achieve the all-important stability that will enable businesses to weather any future storms. If your staff feel valued and invested in your brand, they are more likely to stay, which for the retailer means a familiar face representing the brand and someone they can build a relationship with and know they can approach for support. Not just someone that knows their way around the products, but someone who is invested in them and has built up an understanding of the retailer’s business too. And when your business does grow enough to warrant taking on new staff, it’s the brands that can demonstrate clear investment in their people that will attract the most suitable candidates for the position. Investing in your people results in a positive company

culture that is visible and apparent in all aspects of your business. It becomes part of your identity and determines how your customers perceive you. This is certainly true of Abode, which is a business built on its people. They are our biggest asset because our knowledge, flexibility and service ethos are part of our DNA.

Establishing and living your brand should be a collaborative task that involves the whole team. A good place to begin is by polling employees on the current workplace culture. Use their feedback to implement changes and continue modifying and involving employ- ees as the company grows. Keep them involved, show them their opinion is valued, and empower them to build a company culture they can be proud of. Building a positive culture can be done with any budget and in any size of company, but the return on investment can be invaluable. Provided you take the time to invest in the happiness and well-being of your staff, a positive culture will grow and thrive, and happy staff undoubtedly lead to happy customers.

20 · January 2021

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