When you run your own business, it’s like you’re the captain of a ship. You are at the helm and it’s your unique vision that propels the vessel forward. But your efforts would be in vain were it not for the efforts of your crew. Your vision and leadership may be the driving force behind your business, but the hard work, endeavour, ingenuity and imagination of your employees are what has shaped it into the successful enterprise that it is today. One of the most egregious sins an entrepreneur can make is to take their employees for granted. Each and every one of them deserves every micron of development, coaching and support that you can afford them.
Entrepreneurs tend to be introspective folk. They agonise over whether they’re making the right decisions to ensure that their business is firing on all cylinders. If you’re at all unsure that you’re giving your employees the development they deserve, here are some pointers for you...
When we recruit employees we do so on the basis of skills and experience. We need to ensure that they are equipped to handle the challenges that their positions will present them with on a daily basis. But let’s not kid ourselves, personality also plays a part. We hire people with whom we’d like to work and who we feel would be a good fit for our team. But the synergy of personalities does not a cohesive team make. The ability to work as a team is a skill in and of itself and like any skill it needs to be honed and developed. Use services like Cluego team building to build teamwork skills in a safe, supportive and fun environment. It’s not only a great skill-boosting activity but a fun exercise that will build cohesion.
If you want to foster an even greater relationship, think about holding afternoons in which you get to know each other in a more social environment. Christmas parties, for instance, are a great time for people to let their hair down and form good relationships with one another. However, you could treat your team to a social event whenever suits you – you might meet a great quota for the month and want to reward your team for working so hard. Not only would you be able to reward them with a social event out, but you would also have the added benefit that you are helping build on relationships between team members. Those who wouldn’t normally communicate can get to know one another, which creates unity within the entire company.
Obviously this isn’t meant to be taken literally (but just in case, don’t ever put your employees in a box- you may find yourself open to litigation) but you should not keep your employees in their current role when it’s clear to everyone that they’ve outgrown it. You get the most out of your employees when you show that you are invested in them as an individual outside of their ability to fulfil a specific function for your business. As such, you should give your employees space to grow and a course of continuing professional development. Provide them with a career path within your organisation and imbue them with the skills, knowledge and resources to pursue it. If you don’t provide this for them, they’ll leave you for an employer who will. And that would be a crying shame!
This may involve you putting them forward for courses and further training sessions out of your business’s finances. However, with what you get in return from them, with the added knowledge and skills, this is a worthy investment. Your employees will feel more valued. When they feel this way, they are more likely to want to stay with your company.
The key to providing them with extra training and courses is asking them what they want. For instance, if you run a school, college, or educational business, do your staff want to know more about social justice? Many students are passionate about this, and if educators are more in tune with this, the relationships between them could improve vastly. You will find that tackling social issues in education is possible if the educator leaders have the appropriate training or knowledge. Learning the multiple methods that they can use to enact these changes within your company and learning them yourself as their leader or manager could result in even bigger and better changes. Be as thorough with this as possible. Learn why students are demanding for social justice on their campuses and school grounds, not just what it is and how you can help. This can enable you and your educators to have a deeper understanding of it.
Of course, there could be several things that your educators want to know. Over time, this could change. For those not in the education industry, again, it could vary. They might, too, have a passion for learning more about social justice and what they can do. Take a meeting or hold 1-2-1 meetings with your staff to find out and then you can set about giving them training and help they want that will enable them to develop as individuals and employees.
Performance related pay, monetary bonuses and other financial incentives are all well and good, but it’s important to remember that not all employees are motivated by money. The better you understand your team, the better equipped you are to deliver incentives packages that are tailored to their needs and circumstances. Some, for example, may value their free time more than pay and so will be more motivated by the prospect of more holidays. Some may value flexibility while others may value greater autonomy and opportunities for leadership.
The following advice may help:
When it comes to offering opportunities for leadership positions, training and coaching is always the best course of action. Even for those that have experience, it is never a bad thing to offer them more training sessions. Trends and new leadership methods can be a great thing for your team to learn, and they can aid your entire team as a result. By offering training opportunities for leadership, you are giving your existing team a chance for growth – many will be seeking this. In your annual reviews, you will be able to uncover the plans people have for their careers and set about gearing them up to move up the career ladder.
When recruiting new staff, you will find that many will be looking for these types of perks. If they have the skills and expertise you are seeking, you may have to start offering these. Bear in mind, though, that in doing this, you want to consider your existing employees. If you have always turned down employees the chance for more flexibility, allowing a new member of staff to do this could leave many feeling disgruntled. With this, poor performance and a lack of passion for working for your company may arise. Many may start looking for other jobs with companies that are more likely to offer them this opportunity. Therefore, as you start to bring on new employees, consider making the changes for your existing staff first. You may not be able to accommodate everyone’s individual needs, but even offering something will aid you in keeping existing employees on your side and finding more luck with new employees.
If flexibility isn’t what they want and instead they are seeking more holidays, take some time to look over your expenses, and hire an expert to assist you with it. They will be able to determine whether you have the budget to allow for even one extra day for people. If you can’t, can you think of another way to ensure that people can have the time they need off? For instance, could you start up a scheme that enables employees to take hours back and fulfill these missing hours another time? This may not work for every single company, but it could for yours. A scheme like this would require a lot of change and monitoring to ensure that your employees are completing their contract hours every year. If they don’t make up their hours by a certain point in the year, then you could be entitled to take back the money for hours they have yet to complete. Ideally, you shouldn’t let employees go more than 10% under their hours to ensure that they have the time to make up the hours before the end of the annual year. This is something that you will need to make incredibly clear to your staff. If they are unable to keep their performance levels where you want them or fulfill their contract hours, the privilege may need to be taken away. It is as much about them working with you as it is you working with them, remember.
When your team gets the development they deserve, you can be assured that your ship is sailing in the right direction!