• Mel Butcher

Salary versus Investing in Employees

Updated: Jun 5

How Leaders Can Invest in Team Members

Recently, I heard about a person in a position of authority describing a team member's salary as investment in the individual.

How might this be a problematic view?

In this case, the leader in question had not mentored the employee, set up the employee to be mentored, brought them onto appropriate projects for development, etc.

Salary, while critical, is the bare minimum monetary "investment" a business must make in people to get them to show up in service of the business.

Living in market economy, we don't work for free.

While viewing employees as investments is better than labeling employees as "expenses," equating salary with metaphorical investment can still be a poor use of language. It's also worth considering if it's a symptom of poor leadership.


What does it mean to invest in an employee, a team member?

Because you are reading this, you are the type of leader who cares about effectively engaging the greatness in others. Here are 4 ways you can make a real investment in your team members.

  1. Train your managers to do better, especially in Equity, Inclusion and Diversity. We wee all the time in areas like engineering that people get promoted based on tenure and technical merit. Suddenly, one day, they're also responsible for managing other humans...with no formal training in leadership, management, fostering effective collaboration, etc. The entire company benefits when we equip managers with the tools they need to effectively engage the greatness in others, especially those team members who are different from them (the manager).

  2. Lead for healthy work/life integration. Yes, this means encouraging people to take vacation and not check email. It also means implementing generous parental leave programs that both parents involved are encouraged to take in their entirety. And, perhaps most importantly, it means you, dear leaders and managers, also need to model this behavior publicly.

  3. Prioritize mentorship. This doesn't have to be a formal program. This can be as simple as ensuring the those who step up to mentor and train the company's next generation of talent are recognized publicly and rewarded appropriately. Consider, if developing team members is a part of the company's core values, is it also reflected in performance evaluations that result in bonuses and promotions? Should it be?

  4. Literally invest in your team members' development. Your employees are dynamic, curious people. Invest in their development. Depending on the sector you work in, there are all kinds of development opportunities out there for your team - from practical project management or strategic leadership training to engaging their creativity with things like design thinking. Engage your employees in this process and show them that leadership will put its money where its mouth is when it comes to team member development

In particular, if your company is ready to show its support for your female talent pipeline, A Career that Soars! has resources for you - from corporate memberships to an upcoming live workshop, Leadership Is, coming August of 2022. We're here to help women learn the skills and tools they need to earn their place at the top.

Salary is the bare minimum monetary "investment" a business must make in people to get them to show up in service of the business. But you and your leadership are not people who want to do the bare minimum to skate by.

I look forward to hearing the ways you prioritize investing in your team, and I hope to see you and your team at Leadership Is.

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