Great workforces take a great commitment to achieve great success

We all know that a company is only as good as its people, and most top-performing companies go to great lengths to attract top talent. Once all those great people are in place, however, it behooves us to dedicate the effort and resources to retain and continue developing that talent.

To get the best out of employees, companies need to provide current tools and opportunities to maximize their potential. I’ll touch on some ways to keep your colleagues and associates as knowledgeable, happy and motivated as possible.

Career development
Dedicate time and budget to allow employees to participate in education and training that makes them better. With webinars more and more prevalent, the expenses are often nominal beyond time, and the results can be transformative.

At Riverside, we strive to keep people up-to-date on technology, industry trends and work-performance tips. Much of this content is delivered through simple one-hour webinars, including many that we organize for our portfolio companies, but we also are happy to reimburse for relevant training at seminars or courses that may require time away from the office.

Knowledge sharing
Riverside is a complex global firm, but we strive to find ways to benefit from the hundreds of years of collective experience we share across four continents. We strongly encourage teams to work across functional groups and borders, and we take pains to facilitate that cooperation.

The biggest example of this is what we call Riverside University, which is an ongoing executive management training program made up of in-person and web-based sessions. The program’s highlight is the Riverside Leadership Summit, which brings together Riversiders and executives from more than 85 portfolio companies for two days of intensive learning and networking.

Riverside University also includes partnerships with college business schools and a wide variety of webinars. Another tool we offer for our portfolio companies is the annual Human Capital Forum, bringing together HR leaders from across the world to share best practices and learn together.

A learning culture
Offering these tools is only worthwhile if the company has fostered a culture of continuous improvement and learning. Your employees have to feel comfortable asking for time and flexibility to use the continuing education resources offered.

They also need to know that education is an important pillar of their performance. Ongoing learning should be part of the evaluation process and play a role in improvement plans. It cannot just be lip service.

The payoff
Developing great employees is vital for every company’s success, and retaining top producers saves boatloads compared to replacing them. The world simply changes too fast to allow any resting on laurels; everyone needs to learn and adapt at all times for their company to remain nimble in a dynamic world.

Build a corporate culture that celebrates and values knowledge so that your employees remain fully engaged and have the tools they need to drive growth and succeed. It requires investments of time, effort and money, but the results can be transformative — both for your staff and for your bottom line.

Stewart Kohl is co-CEO at The Riverside Co.