At the end of the day, if you want your business to be truly successful, you need to look after your people — that means giving them the tools to succeed, the resources they need to perform and a clear vision of where they’re going.

If you think about it, there are three things that make up a team member’s business importance. They’re the people who add value which results in bringing money into the organization. They’re the people who make sure that money stays within the organization by continuing to deliver the value proposition day in and day out. And they’re the people who have the awesome responsibility of making sure the congruency between leadership vision and boots-on-the-ground execution remains intact as the organization grows in both revenue and client acquisition.

If you don’t think these things are important, then you haven’t been paying attention to the new scalability of this economic and business landscape we find ourselves operating in. There’s no way around it — team members are your greatest asset, period. In fact, when an employer surveys their team, they’re typically asked which part of the company is their favorite. Nine out of 10 of them will answer this question with the words “the other team members,” or “culture.” This is exactly why it’s now mission-critical to train your entire team extremely well — because the way you train your team is precisely what will be the reflection of your company internally as well as in the marketplace.

Team member engagement is one of the most important things to measure and improve in a company. If the team is happy, they’ll be productive and engaged, and therefore provide an excellent service, which means client retention and company growth.

1) Identify your team members' strengths

One key ingredient is alignment. This means aligning what you're offering with what your team believes they're good at, as well as what they want to be good at. Alignment creates passion, which is why, as an employer, it's so critical to understand what your team wants and needs out of their career and life. You don't have to do anything crazy or over-the-top special; you just must ask them what they want and how they see their future. It's that simple. Theoretically speaking, stop trying to make a square peg fit in a round hole.

2) Make sure team members have the tools and resources they need

Having the right tools and resources available to everyone is crucial to productivity, job fulfillment, and ultimately, their happiness. This includes the technology they use, the services they utilize, and any other tools or services they need to do their jobs effectively. However, many businesses fail to provide all of these things, either because they are too busy running their business or just because they don't know that they need to. The result is that team members become frustrated and dissatisfied with the tools and resources they have available to them. This leads to lower productivity as well as lower retention. You don’t have to have all the coolest stuff that Google or Apple may have; you just have to stop operating like your grandparent’s contracting business when it comes to technology and training.

3) Communicate your vision

Communicating a vision for your company involves effectively sharing what you and your business is all about. Why do people come to you? Why do you think people should do business with you? Leadership vision is the first thing potential customers feel when they hear or see your brand. When I became a plumbing business owner way back in 1994, I had no idea what it would look like in the long run, I just knew I wanted to help people solve problems, both my clients and my team members. Start with something that feels right that you can communicate with passion, and allow the leadership and the team members to evolve as you go.

Team member engagement is one of the most important things to measure and improve in a company. If the team is happy, they’ll be productive and engaged, and therefore provide an excellent service, which means client retention and company growth.

4) Train your team consistently

In the last several years, there’s been a noticeable increase in the percentage of service businesses that are adopting “workplace learning” programs. Many companies understand and believe that the entire team needs to learn new skills, but training once in a while or just for corrective action isn’t enough. If people don’t know how to do their jobs, it’s easy to see why they’re having trouble doing things the way they’re supposed to. Equally important, if they don’t understand why they are expected to do things a certain way, they will struggle as well. To truly train effectively, it’s imperative to ensure that everyone has a clear understanding of their jobs, what their responsibilities are, and why things must be done a certain way and in a certain order. Once all of these are met, training for clarity regarding business systems, tools and processes they use on a day-to-day basis must be implemented.

5) Ensure organizational support

The last thing that we need to discuss here is the importance of organizational support for the success of everyone executing the vision. This means that you must make sure that your company is spot-on when it comes to the correct budget, staffing and resources in place to properly implement any desired changes that are necessary to success. If you don't, you'll end up spending more time dealing with problems than you would have if you'd just communicated relentlessly about why you’re changing, what challenges are imminent, as well as how the organization is committed to supporting all team members no matter what. Today’s team members rely on training, coaching and ongoing support; the companies that figure this out and execute support effectively will continue to win.

In conclusion, it’s time to embrace the reality that team members are your greatest asset. Without them, you wouldn’t have a business. People are the reason that your business exists and will continue to exist. So, it is important to constantly invest in your people. This means investing in training and development, encouraging healthy, engaging conversations, and offering opportunities for growth and recognition. And, most importantly, you should always be listening to your team. They know you and your business better than you might think they do. If they feel that you don’t listen, they will find another opportunity to demonstrate their talents. So, if you are going to invest in your team, which you better, why not just start with the basics: make them feel appreciated and valued. They’re worth it!