Investing in people vs equipment: how to tell when to focus on one over the other

February 28, 2023 Christina DeBusk

Robot and human working together

Two things that can greatly contribute to or detract from a business’s level of success are its people and its equipment. From time to time, each requires a bit of extra attention and focus. But how do you know which one you should be investing more in at the moment? Here are some signs to look for.

Signs that it’s time to invest in your people

Some call people a company’s biggest asset, and rightfully so. How your employees perform their job duties can impact your business’s ability to meet productivity goals as efficiently and effectively as possible.

The way they interact with customers, vendors and even each other can also affect your bottom line. If your customers feel like a company employee treated them fairly and with respect, for instance, it can inspire their loyalty long term.

But what are some signs that all may not be well with your employees? Here are a few signs that it may be time to invest in your people:

  • Workplace morale is low
  • Productivity is down (or fluctuates wildly)
  • There’s a decrease in work quality
  • The use of sick days or call-ins is on the rise
  • Employees do their jobs but nothing more
  • Employees seem “checked out”
  • Meeting participation is low or nonexistent
  • People who used to be engaged are now quiet or withdrawn
  • There’s an increase in tension or disrespect in the workplace

All of these can be signs that your business may have a people problem. Identifying the issues at hand is the first step. This is followed by creating a plan to effectively address the concerns that exist and working together to find a way to resolve them.

Signs that it's time to invest in your equipment

If your company isn’t performing as well as you’d like, it’s also possible that your equipment is to blame. Some equipment can be updated and function just fine for years to come. Other times, you may have to replace a piece of equipment because it’s too old or beyond the point of repair.

To help identify whether it might be time to invest in your equipment, look for these signs:

  • Replacement parts are no longer available or difficult to secure
  • You spend more in one year to fix a piece of equipment versus what you’d spend to replace it
  • The equipment breaks down regularly, constantly disrupting your workflow
  • Equipment efficiency is declining, reducing your productivity more and more over time
  • You’ve changed your processes, which requires the purchase of new equipment
  • Employee injuries are occurring more frequently with a particular piece of equipment

Investing in your equipment can be costly, but so too are frequent repairs. Not to mention, it can create a worker safety issue. Develop a plan for replacing or updating your equipment. Prioritize this list based on which equipment is the oldest or creates the most issues.

Need to invest in your people?

If you realize that your people need the most investment at the moment, we are here to help. We have a number of customizable, personalized staffing solutions, each one designed to focus on (and resolve) the issues that affect your business most.

Let us worry about your people issues so you can focus on other business matters. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.


About the Author

Christina M. DeBusk creates small business content for a variety of publications, some of which include Businessing Magazine, Compendent, Chiropractic Economics, and more. She is also the author behind the column, "The Successful Solopreneur.

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