When talking about business, it’s sometimes easy to forget how valuable your employees can be. They are your most versatile and important resource. They can dictate how well your business does or doesn’t do. They can also be very directly influenced by the kind of employer you are. A lot of your choices will shape the culture of your workplace. This, in turn, can turn your employees from a group of workers to members of a power team.
The workspace they need
The first thing you need to realize is how important the physical workplace itself is. The layout of your office and where your employees sit contributes hugely to how they might get on at work. Employees need a few things from their workplace. Space, to be able to work free of clutter and claustrophobic pressure. Privacy, so they can work without distraction. One problem that a lot of business owners run into early is budgeting for their workspace. They budget their money on product/service development, marketing and salaries. But they leave themselves little room to furnish an office. Don’t give your employees the bare minimum they need to get to work. Give them a proper workspace.
Of course, to get the best out of your employees, you need to choose the right people from the start. Note, this doesn’t mean people with years upon years of experience or an expertise at the business. It means people who are willing to learn, adapt and give it their all. Focus on their potential and their intelligence in different fields. Soft skills that are inherent or nurtured long-term can be harder to find that the hard skills. They can also be a lot more valuable, too. People can always learn those hard skills later. Similarly, in interviews, you want to look at how they answer questions more often than the way they answer. If someone relies on a pattern of blaming external sources for problems, they might not have the responsibility you need from them.
Recognizing toxic employees
As important as getting the right people is getting rid of the wrong people. It can seem harsh, but there are toxic employees who will be more of a drain on your resources than anything, Recognizing them isn’t always easy. They may seem like the fastest, most efficient workers when in reality they cut corners as much as possible. They may seem highly social when in reality they could be divisive element in the workforce. There are some kinds of employees that you are able to help. For example, the hyper-organized “martyr” of the team could learn a bit about delegating and teamwork. In other cases, giving them the can might be the best option for the whole business.
Getting them engaged
Now we need to move on to how exactly you turn the individuals into the members of the team that every business needs to excel. A lot of people are skeptical about their employees caring enough about the business or their work to turn into those team members. That is not a work ethic or desire problem for most employees. It’s an engagement problem. Ensure your employees are engaged by making the work worthy of their attention. Give them control or responsibility over more than menial tasks. Make work a project for them to complete, not just a workload. You will have roles that still need fulfilled but go beyond that. Craft the job with them. Not only will they get more out of it, you might get more out of them too.
Work towards collaboration
There is a big problem in a lot of multi-departmental business. Most of us are familiar with the concept. A big project grinds to a halt or has major problems. Immediately, everyone starts playing the blame game. So-and-so or such-and-such department didn’t do their job right, on time or didn’t tell us about it. Not only does this not get you closer to fixing the problem for next time, it creates a divisive workplace. You need to adopt streamlined communication between departments. Models like the vertical integration from https://poet.co/vertical-integration/ can help drastically. It might be through team leader meetings or even just using the right software for project management. Communication is key.
Keeping communication open
It’s not just a matter of making sure that communication is clear between employees and departments, however. You need to get stuck in there as well. You should be fostering an open door policy within the business. Everyone has someone they can talk to. Make it clear that disagreement is tolerated if it’s done respectfully. If you want a valued team, treat them like one. Make it clear that you’re not just holding the megaphone for some one-sided communication. Clarity and priority is important, too. When the boss speaks directly, a lot of workers will think to treat everything they say as priority number one. You need to help them understand which tasks are more vital than the others.
If you’re open to feedback about how people do their work, then you need to be somewhat flexible with them as well. A lot of employers are growing more open to the ideas of flexible working arrangements. It can relate to office space, remote working or other kinds of changes. All part of helping those employees build their role within the company. If it truly benefits them and their work, it benefits you, too. Don’t show down any ideas immediately. Think of them and research what kind of potential good or harm it might do your business. Workers who are afforded some flexibility are more likely to be flexible when you need them to be, too.
Investing in their talents
If you’ve hired right, it means you’ve hired people who are willing to develop and learn. You shouldn’t just hope for them to become brilliant and multiple tasks overnight, however. You need to put the time into them. Every employee of yours should have some kind of development plan. You can draft it with them personally or delegate it to others. This development plan should not only help to give them some upward mobility. It should help them use their energy to do more for you. Whether it’s paying for courses or investing time in cross-training employees. developing your workforce is incredibly valuable. It not only turns them into that team you need. It also fosters a strong sense of loyalty and collaboration within the business.
Giving more responsibility
Similarly, you need to know when you can entrust your employees with more responsibility. As you grow as a business, you will find yourself taking on more responsibilities. That means that you might find it necessary to also pass on some of those responsibilities. Building a team means not only give people more work and more skills. It also means improving their role throughout the company. Delegating tasks isn’t about just giving more work, however. It’s further developing them as an employee with the potential for furthering the career path. They won’t be incentivized with just the opportunity to do more work, however. Your employees need to know that they have a future with you.
They also need to have some short term incentivizing, as well. It might seem like a small deal to you. However, rewarding their achievement and their good work is very important for fostering a good relationship with your employees. A lot of companies can’t afford or justify rewarding their employees with more money. While it’s not necessarily the best idea to be tight fisted with hard workers, there are ways to reward them without spending too much. If it’s a minor occasion of a hard day’s work being exactly what you needed, a thank you note might be enough. Offering flexible hours or some kind of time consideration like an extra break can be a good idea, as well. There are a lot of ideas worth trying out. Check out sites like https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/openforum/articles/a-101-ways-to-reward-employees-without-giving-them-cash/ to see a few for yourself.
Always remember that your employees are people with their own needs and goals. If you expect to get the best out of them, you need to give the best to them. A lot of business owners will complain about lacking loyalty or ambition. This, without realizing they need to provide the right environment for that to grow. Don’t be like them. Remember that people need a reason to get motivated. They need to be invested and engaged in the work. If you want more than a workload shifted from them, give them more than just a salary. Give them a workplace they can grow in. A system they can thrive and develop in. Make sure they know they’re part of a team and help them grow into a role that goes further than a job description. As their employee, you have the largest influence over what kind of workers they will be. Don’t take that responsibility lightly or you’ll see the negative results in no time.