This post was written by Andrew Pichee, VP of Finance at BizLibrary | @AndrewPichee
As a business leader, I’m constantly thinking about different ways we can grow our business.
One of our core values at BizLibrary is to build partnerships that last, and the only way to do that is to make sure that we’re building a company that stands the test of time.
In Arie de Geus’ book, The Living Company, he explores a number of key attributes that great, long-lasting companies have in common. The three key things that all long-lasting companies share, he posited, are: Great Vision, Great Financial Management, and Great People.
Business Success Starts with A Great Vision
Creating a vision helps define where the company wants to go, and where it sees itself in the future. If we don’t know where we want to be a few years from now, and build an organization around that vision, changes to the marketplace or outside forces can easily derail us and knock us off course.
Be Smart About Investing
Most would equate “great financial management” with profits, but it’s more than that. Thinking about great financial management means investing in the right places. Whether that’s infrastructure, product, marketing, distribution, or human capital, we need to be smart about the areas in which we’re investing to ensure that the company is sustainable in the long run.
A Company’s Greatest Asset
De Geus’ final, but arguably most important attribute for long-lasting companies, is great people.
Our most important asset, as a company, is the people that we employ. Engaged and happy employees take good care of customers. And happy customers take good care of the business. So, in my mind, it all centers on building a culture that supports and nurtures employees.
In an era where technology innovations have allowed for the automation of many business processes, nothing replaces the ingenuity and innovation that our employees bring to the table. This is why we’ve made the decision to invest heavily in building a “culture of learning” that fosters the learning and development of our most important asset, our people.
Fortunately, we’re lucky that we have access to best-in-class learning and development resources that we’ve built in-house. As the colloquial phrase says, we “eat our own dog food,” and the decision for us to implement our own solutions is an easy one and provides us with many benefits.
We’ve utilized our own resources within The BizLibrary Collection to help onboard new employees, providing them with immediate training on real, impactful things that they can put to use in their new role from day one.
We’ve grown our staff by more than 25% over the past year, so building this focus around onboarding is critical to help us engage new employees. The first impression that new employees have needs to be positive, and by showing that we will invest in their learning and development right away, that culture of learning is instilled from day one.
Develop a Coaching Culture
Recently, we’ve launched a coaching initiative. When we decided to build a culture where employees coach and learn from each other, we thought about using the resources in The BizLibrary Collection to help set some foundational knowledge of key and complicated concepts.
We identified internal champions to help us drive the initiative and build “Lunch and Learn” presentations around these video lessons to make sure that we’re following through on ingraining the culture at the individual level.
Beyond that, we’ve implemented an incentive program to encourage employees to share coachable moments, where another person has provided them with impactful and meaningful coaching, and the employees are entered into a drawing to win gift cards. Finally, we’re highlighting a coach of the month each month, to provide a positive example and award someone who has really embodied this aspect of our culture.
The investment in this blended learning approach has started seeing results. We’ve seen coachable moments increase across the organization. Employees used to feel that they worked in silos within their own department, and now they are breaking through these invisible barriers and reaching out to provide and ask for feedback across the company. We’ll be surveying our employees in the next few months and expect to see a big increase in engagement.
Building a company that lasts and grows ensures that we can create more jobs and employ, develop and improve the lives of people in our community and beyond. As business leaders, it’s important that we appreciate this opportunity and capitalize on it.
Investing in the learning development of our employees not only helps us build a great company that lasts, but also improves the lives of others. This cycle of developing employees, taking care of your customers, growing the business, and hiring new employees is at the heart of what I consider to be great business management.
The affordable and easy to use solutions that BizLibrary offers can help you build a culture of learning to focus on the success of your employees, and ultimately the success of your business.