There are a lot of differing opinions over what the most important part of your business is. Some people might say that it’s your finances, some might say that it’s planning and organization. All of these things are completely valid and are essential for a well run, successful business. But if you want to figure out what’s really important, you’ve got to figure out what’s right at the core of your business. Ask yourself, what is the heart of your company? The answer to that is simple: your employees. Your employees are the ones who take all of your passion and ideas and turn them into a reality. They are the ones on the ground working every day to turn your company into something truly great. Or at least, that’s the way it should be. If you’re not getting the most out of your employees, then your business is inevitably going to suffer for it. The right staff can elevate your business, but the wrong staff is guaranteed to drag it down. So the question then is how do you make sure that your employees are the genuine asset to your business that you know they can be? Fortunately, the answers to that questions are not only simple but achievable as well. Here are a few ways that you can make sure that you’re getting the most out of your employees.
Think about the work atmosphere
Creating the right atmosphere at work can be a tricky thing. No one wants to work in a tense, silent, Victorian style office where everyone is in neat little rows and no one can talk to each other. But at the same time, you want to make sure that your employees are aware that it is a workplace and not a social gathering. There’s been a big move over to open plan offices over the last few years, and that’s great. Open plan offices allow employees to communicate and share ideas with one another. But unless it’s handled properly an open plan office can easily descend into a mess of chatting and distractions. It’s important that you figure out how you want to arrange your office based on the needs of your business and your staff. Communication will certainly be important but make sure that you’re not sacrificing your employees’ ability to focus.
Look after them
Your employees are by far your greatest asset, but they are also people. You need to remember that. Your employees aren’t machines, they have limits, needs and wants and as their boss, it’s your duty to support them as well as expect high-quality work from them. Adopt an open door policy so that your employees know that you’re always available if they have an issue that they want to discuss. You should also make sure that you’re able to be flexible with them. This should always be within reason of course but remember that each employee’s needs will be different. If someone needs to adjust their hours, then don’t be too rigid. As long as they’re putting in the full work week, then it shouldn’t matter too much if they add or subtract an hour or two here and there. If you’re overly tyrannical then your employees will begin to resent you. That doesn’t mean that you should be a pushover. Make sure that your behavior and decisions are always firm but fair. A company like Ellis Whittam is a fantastic resource for all human resources needs or concerns that you might have.
Focus on development
Your business should always be adapting and evolving. The modern business world never stops moving and neither should your business. But that means that your employees will often have new things thrown at them fairly frequently. In order to help them handle these new developments, it’s important that you’re providing frequent, useful training for them. Make sure the training is actually valuable to your employees and not just ticking something off a checklist. Make sure that any training that they receive is guaranteed to help them excel in their current roles or to prepare them for future ones. Few things can make an employee feel more frustrated than the idea that they’re stagnating in one spot year after year. You should make sure that there are clear development and progression opportunities for all of your employees at every level. Not only will that incentivise your employees to do better but will also weed out those who aren’t interested in pushing themselves. Employees like that are only ever going to put in the minimum amount of work required and are never going to be a truly valuable asset to your company.
Lead by example
You should expect a lot from your employees. But it also works the other way around. If your employees are working to a particular standard and then they turn around and see that you’re not doing the same, then that’s going to create an atmosphere of mistrust and resentment. Make sure that you’re leading by example and that you’re putting in just as much time, commitment and effort as you expect from your employees. Not only will this improve your business as a whole but will create an environment of camaraderie and loyalty when they see that you’re all working together, rather than them working and you just barking orders. It’s also important that, by putting in just as much work as your employees, you retain a sense of the kinds of stress and pressure that’s being placed on them. Never lose site of the level of work your employees are putting in.
There really is no asset more effective than your workforce. A solid team will help your business handle any problem and in the end, is sure to help it become as successful as possible.