I live in a quaint, little village that has a gorgeous spring-fed lake at its center. Each winter, the lake is drained in order to let the icy air prevent the underwater vegetative growth from strangling the life it hosts the rest of the year. The reemerging waters arrive in the spring crystal clear, stocked with thousands of fish, hundreds of fowl, and countless visitors.
The past four economic years could best be described as draining the swamp for businesses. The financial waters have drawn back to kill off the strangling undergrowth and are waiting to reemerge clear and vibrant with business. Unfortunately many organizations view employee development as one of the tangles they need to starve off as they drain the swamp.
This is a self-defeating activity. I have many speaker friends and authors who have experienced a downturn of bookings where they train and motivate employees. It’s the economy, right? Wrong. It’s the incorrect thinking that somehow cutting back on investing in your employees is necessary for your survival. How can that be when they are actually killing off one of their greatest means of nourishment?
Employee development doesn’t have to be costly, but it does have to be done. Having lunch-and-learn sessions where you read a book together costs very little but pays huge dividends. Selecting a local businessperson or leader to come and share with your team is often free! And there is so much great downloadable material on the web you can share at weekly meetings, it’s unreal!
I work in an area that is recession proof. I deal with organizations, groups, and spiritual institutions that understand employee development is a never-ending responsibility, the economy be damned. And I’m talking about groups that work on their team’s internal motivation and help them discover what is inside of themselves; heart-knowledge not head-knowledge.
It’s a scary time. The more positive and personal-development material you can feed your team, the more creative and appreciative they’ll be. Everyone knows a job is just a job, unless you get the right person in the position. All the right person needs to have is a willingness and a desire to learn, so please, don’t ever drain the waters so much that you stop feeding this. Otherwise, when the waters reemerge, you may find that all you have left in your cubicles is a slimy team of swamp things!