Empowering your employees is the most important thing you can do for your business. Not only will it increase your chances for “success”, but more importantly it will add value to the lives of your staff and even yourself. Stop focusing on the bottom line alone and start focusing on those that can help you turn that bottom line around! One of the most successful men in technology, Steve Jobs, put it perfectly when he said, “It’s not the tools you have faith in – tools are just tools – they work or they don’t work. It’s the people you have faith in or not.”
Ok! So you may be able to close that big deal because you were able to read your client like a book, but how about your staff? Do you pay attention to them? Do you recognize their efforts, achievements, and even failures? One of the worst thing to do is to ignore someone. As humans we are wired to connect with others. Solitary confinement is known as one of the worst forms of torcher. The New Yorker reported on the long term effects of being isolated from others and quoted a telling statement from John McCain, a five and a half year prisoner of war in Vietnam, about being isolated. He said, “It’s an awful thing, solitary.” He goes on to say, ““It crushes your spirit and weakens your resistance more effectively than any other form of mistreatment.” The workplace is not much different from a foreign war zone. Workplace shootings, suicides, and depression is more prevalent today than ever before. Check out the short list below of how you can stop going about your business alone and start giving back to your staff! Be the difference in business, not the statistic!
“Virtually every company will be going out and empowering their workers with a certain set of tools, and the big difference in how much value is received from that will be how much the company steps back and really thinks through their business processes, thinking through how their business can change, how their project management, their customer feedback, their planning cycles can be quite different than they ever were before.” –Bill Gates
- Organizational instability. Constantly changing management and not having a clear focus of your business goals creates confusion among your staff. If employees don’t know what’s going on, what the priorities are or what they should be doing then they will loose the drive to work. The stresses of your business shouldn’t be on your employees. Invest in solid leadership and you’ll be on the path to success in no time.
- Offer quality training. When someone is hired into a position they expect to be trained how to do that position. To often small businesses just throw their staff to the wolves with a “sink or swim” approach. This leads to frustrated employees, premature loss of staff, and creates a “do it how you see fit” direction. You need unity in your company which means everyone needs to do most tasks the same way. Train your new hires how to succeed at their job and you will be left pleased with your efforts. If you don’t have a training program, check out this awesome blog by the amazing employee scheduling software When I Work of how to create an effective on the job training program.
- Rude behavior. Studies have shown that everyday indignities have an adverse affect on productivity and result in good employees quitting. Rudeness, assigning blame, back-biting, playing favorites and retaliations are among reasons that aggravate employee turnover. Feeling resentful and mistreated is not an enticement for a good work environment. The environment in which your employees work starts with you, so get a handle on it and clean up the bad attitudes ASAP!
- Work-life imbalance. When organizations choose to demand that one person do the work of two or more people it only creates stress and drastically reduces productivity. This is especially true when an organization downsizes or restructures, resulting in longer hours and weekend work. Employees are forced to choose between a personal life and a work life. Try to find a balance for your staff. If they feel you are committed to their happiness, then they are more likely to want to work harder for your business.
- The job did not meet expectations. It has become all too common for a job to significantly vary from the initial description and what was promised during the interviewing stage. When this happens it can lead to mistrust. It is understandable that a job position might vary over time as your business changes, but keep open communication between you and your staff. Don’t just give them more tasks that are outside of their job title. Talk to them about how you have some tasks that need to get done and find out which ones they might enjoy working on. Communicate if they are temporary assignments or permanent changes due to a new direction the business is going. Knowledge is power and the less you leave your staff in the dark the more likely they are to see the light in the opportunity.
- Feeling undervalued. Everyone wants to be recognized and rewarded for a job well done. It’s part of our nature. Recognition does not have to be monetary. The most effective recognition is sincere appreciation. Recognizing employees is not simply a nice thing to do but an effective way to communicate appreciation for positive effort, while also reinforcing those actions and behaviors.
- Coaching and feedback are lacking. Effective managers know how to help employees improve their performance and consistently give coaching and feedback to all employees. Many managers were promoted because they did their jobs very well and got results. However, that doesn’t mean they know how to lead. Leaders aren’t born—they are made. People skills can be learned and developed, but it really helps if a manager has a natural ability to get along with people and motivate them. Managers should lead by example, reward by deed.
- Raises and promotions frozen. Over the years, studies have shown that money isn’t usually the primary reason people leave an organization, but it does rank high when an employee can find a job earning 20 to 25 percent more elsewhere. Raises and promotions are often frozen for economic reasons but are slow to be resumed after the crisis has passed. Offering competitive wages can leave employees feeling valued and can help you find quality staff for your business!
- Faith and confidence shaken. When employees are asked to do more and more, they see less evidence that they will ultimately share in the fruits of their labor. When revenues and profits increase along with workload, organizations should take another look at their overall compensation packages. Employees know when a company is doing well, and they expect to be considered as critical enablers of that success. Organizations need to stop talking about employees being their most important asset while treating them as consumables or something less than valuable. If an organization wants empowered employees putting out quality products at a pace that meets customer demand, they need to demonstrate appreciation through actions.
- Growth opportunities not available. A lot of good talent can be lost if the employees feel trapped in dead-end positions. Often talented individuals are forced to job-hop from one company to another in order to grow in status and compensation. The most successful organizations find ways to help employees develop new skills and responsibilities in their current positions and position them for future advancement within the enterprise. If you are a small business your growth opportunities might be limited, but before you find an excuse to cap your staffs promotion opportunities think of adding a new position that might take your business to the next level. You don’t want to loose a quality employee that is hungry for success, so figure out a way to keep them and get help to grow your business.
Organizations need to stop talking about employees being their most important asset while treating them as consumables or something less than valuable.
As always, thanks for taking the time to read this one all the way through. I hope this post helped encourage you to strive for more by helping others. Find success for your business by helping your staff succeed. I’d love to hear from you so leave your comments below or reach out to me directly. For more information, visit 2014PEMC.org.