There is much wisdom written these days about the importance of your workforce to enhance your bottom line. Go online and search for “invest in your people” or “good jobs revolution” and you will learn how the conventional wisdom—labor viewed only as a cost—is debunked. Places like Deloitte University and prominent researchers are finding that there are long-term benefits to higher wages and overstaffing to ensure high quality customer service. A well-paid, happy workforce leads to greater profitability.

In her Forbes Magazine on leadership: Why Investing in Your People Makes Good Business Sense, Roberta Matson wrote: “Done properly, employee training and development can provide a company with a considerable return on investment. Unlocking the untapped potential locked inside employees and channeling this effectively, will surely boost the company’s performance a great deal.”

Paul Petrone writes in a Linkedin Pulse post The Secret to Google’s Brand: Invest in Your People:
“… Google made a decision early on in its existence: rather than spending money on getting a lot of customers; it spent money on getting the best employees, knowing the customers would follow.”

Here’s my take. Don’t just focus on investing in your up-and-coming stars. I firmly believe that almost all of us work at a lower capacity than we are capable of. As a former college professor I was always delighted to see the light in the eyes of “average students” when they learned how to perform at higher levels than were previously expected of them. The same goes for employees—people want to work at a high level because there is meaning in work. Give them the opportunity, the encouragement, and the tools to excel and, guess what, they will.

Build a culture based upon the values such as learning, achievement, self-improvement, empowerment, and teamwork and you will create a values-driven culture of excellence. The result will be higher job and customer satisfaction, retention of the best and the brightest, higher productivity, and ultimately greater profitability. An investment in your culture is an investment in all of your people because your culture is defined by how all of your employees behave at work. Set clearly articulated high performance expectations, hold people accountable, and watch the rewards pile up.