Every member of your team is crucial to the successful operation of any small business. They have a significant influence on the image of the business, the effectiveness of its operation, and the efficiency with which the business runs. Selecting the right staff for your business is a tricky task because they not only need to have the knowledge, abilities, and experience required, but they have to fit into the dynamic of how your business runs. Happy team members are productive staff, and productivity is highly influential on the profitability of a business. It means that you need to take the happiness and welfare of your employees very seriously if you wish to optimize the output of your business.
Employment Terms & Training
The relationship with your employees begins with having the correct employment terms in place from the start. You need to be fully aware of your legal responsibilities and have pay and tax arrangements operating correctly from the off. The very minimum requirement is to meet the criteria laid out in employment legislation, but if you can offer a better deal above the minimum requirements, you are more likely to attract and retain high-quality staff. It could include extra health care contributions, paid vacation time, extra days off, flexible working hours, telecommuting opportunities, and staff bonuses or perks schemes. Choose the extras that will suit you and your staff best, and make sure you promote the benefits of being employed by your business.
Furthermore, you can’t expect members of staff to perform their tasks to the highest standards if they haven’t received sufficient training on all the relevant systems and processes. You should have training programs in place for each member of staff, including general training such as the use of equipment and systems, health and safety, customer service and so on. To these basic training requirements, you should also add specialist training tailored to each member of staff, either covering an area of weakness in their performance or extending their specialist knowledge and skills with topic-specific courses. You also need to conduct regular staff appraisals so you can discuss their progress and agree on targets and training programs for the coming months.
Working Environment & Staff Welfare
The surroundings in which people work can have a noticeable impact on staff happiness. Comfortable workstations, equipment that functions well, a pleasant decor, comfortable rest areas, and refreshment facilities, will all contribute to a feeling of wellbeing amongst your staff. Make sure you supply them with fully adjustable office chairs that provide lumbar support as they could be spending most of their days sitting at their desk, and a chair that gives them a backache will be a definite sore point. Small details can make a big difference. For instance, rather than having an ancient filter coffee pot on the go all day, invest in a new coffee machine, or provide a fresh coffee delivery service. You can find more info about options for refreshments by browsing specialist services online.
What’s more, no one has a trouble-free life, and in general, it’s fair to expect your employees to keep any personal problems out of the workplace. However, it’s inevitable that difficult situations can affect the mindset and functioning of even the most dedicated staff at certain times. If someone is under-performing or seems unhappy, you need to find out why and take any steps you can to solve the problem, or at least restore your staff to a state where they can function properly again. Being sympathetic to personal crises and accommodating requests for time off because of family commitments will gain you far more in terms of productive working relationships than taking a draconian stance and being inflexible when it comes to managing your staff.
Communication & Appreciation
This is one of the areas staff complain about most frequently when asked for their opinions on their workplace. Not keeping staff posted on what’s happening is quite a frequent occurrence in many businesses, but there are advantages in keeping the channels open between yourself and your workforce. For instance, when faced with a business-related problem that you can’t get any inspiration on, if you share with the team, they could well come up with an option you hadn’t considered. Keeping staff in the dark regarding business operations is inadvisable because they will resent being ignored, and find it much harder to deal with any changes if they are just sprung on them. You should have regular meetings with your staff where you discuss issues that have arisen and look at how the business is performing. Communication should also be a two-way street, so you should be welcoming staff to meet with you to discuss anything that’s on their mind.
The other key factor employees most frequently complain about is being appreciated. Or rather, the fact that they receive very little acknowledgment of a job well done. You need to make a point of commenting positively when staff complete a difficult task or work extra hard. In fact, anything they do successfully should be acknowledged. It doesn’t have to be lavish praise or over-enthusiastic congratulations, just a simple and heartfelt word of thanks and a remark about what a good job they’ve done will be enough to put a smile on most people’s faces and give them a confidence boost. Hard taskmasters who show no appreciation but are always quick to jump in and pick fault will not find their way into their employees’ hearts. On the other hand, kind, considerate bosses who appreciate what their team does for them will earn loyalty and gratitude and be respected by their staff members, who will be more likely to increase their productivity and strive to do their best.
It’s not easy being a boss, and if you have little or no experience of how to be an effective leader, you should definitely look for information and training resources to help you become a better manager. Never forget how critical your staff is to the success of your business, and treat them with the respect and appreciation they deserve.