This is the 10th instalment of my 14 Principles for Success in Business, adapted from my book, The Little Guide To Your Bigger Future™.
Last time it was all about motivation. This time? Treating staff well.
Your employees need to know they are valued. We all need to know we are appreciated. Sometimes a sincere ‘thank you’ or ‘well done’ is worth more than money in the pocket.
I recall a TV documentary about the space agency, NASA. The presenter was interviewing staff about their roles and he asked one man in particular what he did. The man replied that he was part of the team that put the first man on the moon. Wow. Impressive. It transpired the man was essentially a cleaner, but full marks for the great staff management that had acknowledged and made him feel he was a very important cog in the machinery and definitely ’part of the team.’
All the same, treating staff well involves a little more than showing appreciation. Flexibility and good communications are essential and it has to include the promotion of ongoing development and training and the transfer of skills from an ageing workforce to the young. It has to support employee health and well-being and it has to recognise and adapt to the changing lifestyles of today’s workers.
In business, we’re taught that the customer always comes first – right? Well not according to Richard Branson, surely one of the most successful businessmen of all time. He believes that clients do not come first. Employees come first. He says, “If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.”
So how do you do that and make your business a great place to work?
Here are my 5 Top Tips for treating employees well:
1. Don’t keep them in the dark. They aren’t mushrooms! Let them know your plans for the company. Share your vision and goals. Ask for their input, show them that you value their opinion and how they can make a difference.
2. Be clear about your expectations – don’t let them guess! Employees need to know what you expect from them and what your limitations are
3. Provide work-related training for them so they can improve their skill sets.
4. Be approachable. Make sure your employees know they can come to you with problems or suggestions. It’s all about open communication.
5. Show your appreciation. Be spontaneous. Be creative. Arrange away-days and / or put in place a reward scheme for creating and maintaining customer loyalty
The benefits of treating employees well cannot be over-stressed. You’ll begin to notice:
Increased productivity and loyalty
Stronger customer relations
Less stress and fewer sick days within the workforce
Higher employee retention
A more knowledgeable and skilled workforce
Last word with Richard Branson:
“Above all, keep in mind that a business is a collection of people,” he says. “If your people are not happy and healthy, then your enterprise’s prognosis isn’t good enough. But if you make sure they have the time and support they need, you’ll set them and your company up for success in the long term.”
Next time: The right people in the right job.