If you are in the fortunate position of having grown your startup into a fully fledged business entity, complete with annual profits that continue to grow and a clear business vision, it’s vital that you don’t become complacent. You have successfully made the move from employee to entrepreneur to employer. No one sets out to be the boss from hell, so it’s vital that you don’t slip into this role. As an employer, you need to continually value your employees and demonstrate this with actions, not just words.
As a business owner, you will inevitably feel precious over your ideas, your products and your services. However, it’s imperative that you allow your staff team some buy in too. Without this, your staff won’t be as productive as they might be. They may lack morale. Or worse still, they may not even care. It doesn’t matter whether you are having a tough day, client meetings aren’t going to plan or you are snowed under with paperwork, you need to go that extra mile to show your employees that you appreciate them. By doing this, you can be sure of a cohesive team that works productively and collaboratively. Take a look at how you can make your staff feel valued.
Forget the solitary booths of desktop computers, brown carpet tiles and beige walls. Your office space needs to be vibrant, inspiring and conducive to productive working. If your work environment hasn’t had a facelift in a few years and is looking tired, it’s time to give it a bit of a makeover. Whip out the white paint, brighten up the office with some high quality artwork of the local area and add a touch of greenery to the place. Being surrounded by nature, even if it’s just a pot plant or two can lift mood and make for a workforce with higher morale.
It’s vital that you promote collaborative working with the workplace that you offer. Create a range of teamwork pods where people can meet, thrash out ideas and be creative. You want to foster a hum of creativity, not a silent workplace where every employee has their earbuds firmly attached to their heads. Encourage those water cooler moments and get out onto the floor yourself, chatting to your team.
Your staff deserves decent hardware so ensure that you provide it. Desktop computers from 1999 aren’t going to cut it anymore. And no one appreciates the printer jamming constantly or the photocopier forever running out of ink. Renew the hardware to boost morale and productivity. Get the new laptops on order and allow flexible working. If your employees are working hard, producing the highest quality documents and meeting any targets that you set, it doesn’t matter if they do this at home, in a coffee shop or in the office.
As an employer, it’s hugely important to communicate with your staff team on a regular basis. Send out a weekly email, name-checking a couple of employees who have worked particularly hard on a project in the past seven days or who have secured the lucrative contract that you were so eager to obtain. Keep your staff informed of times of struggle as well as successes. If your team have bought into your business vision, feel valued and enjoy coming to work every morning, they will care about the supplier going bankrupt, and work harder to ensure that your company survives.
Have a team meeting, even if it’s just for ten minutes, at the beginning of every week. This allows you to communicate the short term goals for the week as well as giving your staff the chance to air their views and opinions. Ensure that you take them on board, and respond to any queries or suggestions over email or face to face.
Ensure that you keep your staff team up to date with any changes to their working hours in a timely manner. There’s nothing worse than an employee making plans and then being told that they have to come in on their day off. Utilize a product like Sling employee scheduling software to ensure that you can manage planners from one interface. There is less room for human error, and you can keep up to date with absences, holidays and overtime.
…But not too personal. It’s always a hard balance to strike when you consider how to interact with your employees. You remember your highly aloof boss back when you were an employee and how you never ever got to see the guy. It was like he was continually holed up in his office and you weren’t even sure if he knew your name. At the same time, you don’t want to be the boss who thinks that he’s everyone’s best pal. When it comes to your staff team heading out for drinks on a Friday after work, don’t be afraid to go with them. Get the first round in but then ensure that you slip away to allow your employees to enjoy their evening together without you there.
Set up a couple of away days every three months or so to allow your team a chance to let off steam and get to know one another on a more personal level. When a team is cohesive socially, they are more likely to be cohesive professionally. By stumping up the cash and taking your team to an activity center to partake in some team building exercises and games, you are showing your employees that you value their input.
Although you don’t want to know every sordid detail of your admin assistant’s relationship breakdown, it’s still important that you know that it is happening. This allows you to understand why he or she may be late one morning, might need some compassionate leave, or requires to work from home three days on one week rather than two. Your staff need to feel secure and supported in their roles. Showing that you care is vital if you want to retain top quality members of staff and you want them to be productive.
Invest In Your Team
While you don’t want to be spending money where it is not needed, your staff deserves to be budgeted for. Consider the sorts of training and professional development that you can secure for your staff. If your marketing manager wants to enhance their resume and experience with a professional qualification, offer to fund it. With their developed knowledge, they can bring new and more efficient ways of working into your company and can train up your remaining staff. Investing in your staff isn’t a waste. In fact, it is vital for your business to stay ahead of its rivals and be at the forefront of relevant business methodologies.
Have regular professional development meetings with each individual member of staff and help them to consider their career progression. Develop a personalized plan with them and review their progress at meetings on a regular basis. Set up a mentoring scheme to allow the more senior people in your company to guide the more inexperienced employees. If you want your employees to stay at your company, you need to ensure that they do not get seduced by the offer of development and promotion elsewhere.
The team that you have spent so long crafting and honing are an excellent cohesive entity that you want to retain. Your business is flourishing, not in spite of them, but because of them. Show your appreciation and value the team that you have, and your business can go from strength to strength.