Any business owner knows that their workforce is their most valuable asset. Hard-working, loyal, and dedicated people can be the answer to steadfast growth.
But if they’re feeling increasingly demotivated, undervalued, unsatisfied and unhappy, they won’t be performing at their best.
In the words of Richard Branson ‘Look after your staff and they’ll look after your customers’. And there’s a lot of truth in that.
Taking the time out to review your staff’s happiness, morale and wellbeing could be the key to your next business growth strategy. Small, inexpensive tweaks to your relationship with your staff can positively impact profitability, talent retention, attrition, absenteeism and customer service.
And, did you know happy customers are a lot more likely to tell their friends about a company? On average, happy customers tell nine people about their experience with a company, and, 54% of millennials said they stopped doing business because of bad customer service.
Your employees are the face of your business. According to TLNT, when people are happy at work they close more sales, make more money, have less sick days and stay at their organisation longer.
So, the key to standing out against competitors, penetrating new markets and closing more sales could be right under your nose - your employees.
But what can you start doing today to make your staff happier?
Praise and recognition
Looking after your staff could be as simple as showing recognition and giving feedback. Appreciation is a fundamental human need; we crave it. And there’s a surprising level of psychology behind it.
Simply acknowledging hard work and recognising a job well done is said to be more motivating than money. And managers who praise are able to achieve upwards of 30% more productivity than those who don’t.
So take a step back and look at who is really putting in their all to benefit your business. Sure, you’re paying them to do a good job, but it doesn’t take a lot to give a pat on the back in the form of a “Well done”, or a “Great work this week, you’re doing a good job”.
And, it’s much more cost-effective than a salary increase.
Employee wellbeing programmes have become increasingly popular in recent years. Perhaps because employers are realising the value of happy, health staff and its positive effect on businesses performance.
A wellbeing programme might include anything from providing healthy food and snacks, an on-premise gym (or gym membership), lunchtime yoga classes, or a team training event; anything that will contribute to healthier staff is considered to be an investment in your business.
Plus, encouraging exercise could see you build more than a fit and healthy workforce.
Exercise is said to induce a multitude of benefits ranging from reduced stress, anxiety, and depression, increased confidence, better mental clarity, concentration, sleep, and boost the immune system.
Certainly, a workforce that is benefitting from all the above will produce better work, take less sick days, perform better, and be more motivated to satisfy your customers, right?
Invest in training
Training and learning make perfect sense in business. There’s arguably nothing more valuable than motivated, competent and qualified staff. By training your staff to do the best job possible, you could also be nurturing their own goals and ambitions.
Plus, learning new skills is said to boost self-esteem.
The new skills acquired through training could be invaluable to your business, and leave a legacy of knowledge that is filtered down through different divisions. Universally applicable skills such as critical thinking, communications, collaboration, creativity and innovation could enhance operational efficiency, attrition rates, and increase employee value. It makes employees more productive in their day-to-day work, and, as employees become more and more competent and able, internal roles that arise with the inevitable growth of your business can be filled internally, resulting in a reduction in recruitment costs.
Embrace the millennial generation
Whether you love them or hate them, (or are one of them) millennials now account for the biggest proportion of the workforce. And they bring with them very different attitude and expectations than previous cohorts.
Millennials are said to favour a job that offers flexible working schedule - 74% to be precise. And 92 percent believe that business success should be measured by more than just profit.
So to retain the best millennial talent, you’ll want to be aware of these preferences and attitudes, and do all you can to nurture them. Make these attitudes work in your favour.
Flexible working is said to increase levels of job satisfaction, talent retention, self-motivation and productivity, so fully embrace this cohort as one of your biggest assets, and satisfy their needs to they do the best job for you that they can.
As employees feel trusted and respected, trust and respect are gained by the employer through increased autonomy and flexibility. So flexibility is not something to be feared.
At the risk of telling you what you already know, we decided to publish this post because we realise that as a business owner, it can be easy to become detached from the day-to-day hustle. Whilst your busy spinning plates: generating new business, managing HR issues, recruiting new employees, maintaining a healthy level of profit and market your business, your employees can sometimes (unintentionally) fall to the bottom of your priorities.
But simple acts as stated above can bolster your team’s efficiency and morale, resulting in a positive impact on your business performance.
So don’t forget, treat your staff as individuals, not a cost, and within reason, do what is that needs to be done to keep them happy, loyal, productive and motivated.