Why Taking Care of Your Staff is Essential to Every Business
By Fergus Koochew on August 9th, 2015
“Take care of your employees and they’ll take care of your business”, according to Richard Branson. Very wise words, indeed. Taking care of your employees means your staff will want to continue going to work, be engaged in their role, and help to produce better outcomes for your business. In fact, when employees are disengaged in their job, it can lead to billions of dollars in lost productivity.
There used to be a time when it seemed that looking after your employees meant you were being ‘soft’ or it’s simply ‘a nice thing to do’. Sure, it’s nice to look after your staff, but the benefits of doing so goes far beyond being a liked boss. In fact, studies have shown that companies with high employee engagement often perform better in productivity, absenteeism, turnover, shrinkage and profitability compared to their competitors.
The benefits are obvious, so how can you look after your staff members?
Having a workplace that is professional at all times will result in an environment that makes people want to be productive and be professional themselves. Employees are likely to be more productive in a workspace that is clean and clear of clutter, so be sure to lay down some ground rules with your staff about general housekeeping to keep areas organised.
Also giving your staff a well-lit parking area, with a substantial break room and outdoor smoking areas, will be sure to please your staff.
Allowing your staff to communicate easily with managers will mean they’ll be more relaxed and open to voice opinions about problems in the office and conflicts. Advise your managers to communicate with staff members regularly, and provide them with encouragement and constructive criticism. Provide staff members with information on the hierarchy of the office to avoid confusion and to know who to report to.
If you would like your staff members to remain loyal and work for your business for extended time periods, one way to do this is to provide advancement opportunities within the company. If any higher positions become available, hire from within where possible. Providing training for possible future promotion will also encourage staff members to stay with your company and work to advance their career with you.
Give recognition to your staff members where it is warranted. Praising staff for their great work is one of the easiest ways to encourage them to continue working hard, and also inspires other team members to strive for recognition as well. If possible, arrange an ‘employee of the month’ type award for staff. Each month, they will be motivated to aim for the coveted prize and make it more enticing by giving a gift, such as a gift card, coupon, or meal at a local restaurant.
Hire people who fit your corporate culture
If you care about your staff, when you hire new team members you should choose staff who will get along well with others, be a team player and will generally be a nice person. Having the right staff members join a team will mean they are more collaborative, and will be pleasant to other employees. Of course, there’s always going to people who don’t get along, but you can at least alleviate some of this problem by trying to find people who are the right fit for your corporate culture.
When you hire new staff, be welcoming. If you have an employee who has been in the company for a while who can act as a mentor, ask them to spend the day with new staff by showing them around the business, how different machines work and where facilities are. At lunch, a small welcoming party will allow your current staff get to know the new team member, and will help to put your new team member at ease.
Asking a staff member what their interests are and who their family is means nothing if you don’t listen. Take an interest in your employees and what they like to do outside of work. Really listen to what they say, and pay attention. They might mention their interests which you can then use to surprise them with future gifts or perks. Knowing you remembered what they like will be the cherry on top of the brilliant gift you’ve just given them.
Be aware of your expectations
Be aware of what kind of work load you’re expecting your staff members to fulfill. If you’re asking too much of them or asking them to perform tasks in a shorter amount of time, you’re going to create a situation where staff members feel stressed and burned out.
Make tasks given to them available for a decent amount of time, and even talk with your staff if they are feeling too overwhelmed by the amount of work they have or if they want more work. Some people will be able to work faster than others, so discussing their workload with each staff member will help you to balance this out.
Give your staff additional benefits
More and more companies today are providing extra benefits to their staff members. Small things such as extra maternity leave, higher pay or more parkings spaces, right through to arcade machines, bowling days, free tea and coffee, and gift vouchers.
Although some of these are extreme, a lot of businesses and companies are starting to listen to their staff members about what they want and giving it to them. Your benefits might even just be providing a personal trainer once or twice a week to all staff members if they wish to work out, instead of work for a couple of hours. You’ll find that their productivity will be greatly increased due to feeling valued and having reduced stress levels.
It is also worthwhile implementing an employee loyalty benefit program, as the more valued your employees feel then the more productive and cheerful they will be regarding their work.
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