Investing In Your Employees

“Innovation” is a hot concept right now. As well-known author and speaker Guy

Kawasaki sums it up, “‘Innovate or die is how the world works.” Usually when people

discuss innovation and business, it’s associated with a company’s new product or

revolutionary process. But those are actually just the outcomes. True innovation stems

from a company’s workforce. So when you see a business with the inability to innovate,

the heart of the problem actually lies in the leaders’ inability to hire and retain quality


Finding and keeping top talent is what will make or break a company in the “new

economy,” so it is vital that as leader you do what it takes to ensure your business’

success. In order for your employees to become innovative in their responsibilities and

your employers ahead of the competition, you have to do three things. Building trust,

cultivating passion, and inspiring loyalty must be at the top of your to-do list if you want

to protect your workplace from one of today’s top business challenges – the inability to


Build Trust

Trust is a two-way street. First, your employees must trust you in order to have the

freedom to be innovative or motivation to work hard. This only comes through honest

communication and consistent follow-through from your leadership. On the flip side,

you also have to trust your employees. Kawasaki points out that you have to, “Trust

your employee(s) enough to make the right decision for customers. When you show this

level of trust and empower employees, they do the best work that they can.”

Cultivate Passion

Today’s successful businesses have the most engaged and enthusiastic employees.

But that passion has to originate at the top. “The leadership team must be passionate

in order for the rest of the organization to be passionate,” said OtterBox founder and

CEO Curt Richardson in a recent article. “Who wants to come to work for

someone who is just going through the motions and working for the next professional

advancement?” So make sure you’re excited about your company’s goals and mission,

then work to spread that excitement.

Inspire Loyalty

Maintaining an innovative workplace means that you must also foster a loyal workforce.

Hiring top talent is the first step, but keeping your talented workers engaged and

invested in your business is the only way to achieve long-term success. There are many

ideas out there on how to build employee loyalty, but it really boils down to leadership.

As the leader, you have to be willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done, says

Kawasaki. “Employees need to know that you’ll do the dirty, hard, and frustrating jobs


If you want your business to be successful and stay ahead of the competition, then you

must realize that hiring and retaining top talent is the only way. A passionate, engaged

workforce is the key to becoming an innovative industry leader. But, it’s up to you to

provide an environment that allows your employees to innovate. Give them what they

need, and they’ll return the investment, ten-fold.