I hope you realise how important your employees are to you. They are the most important part of your business, whether you are developing, fully-realised, or just a dream in its primitive incarnation. If you don’t make your employees feel like they’re valued, it will do damage to your company in the productivity stakes, financial stakes, and it may even put your dealings to a stop. So you have to bear this in mind. What is important to a staff member? Having their self-worth recognised by their employers. And although companies have been outsourcing for quite some time, this can be viewed as a kick in the teeth to permanent workers who feel they have the potential to do more for your business but are being passed over for someone who can do it quickly and for a lot less money. So what’s important to an employee?
It’s what we all require to go somewhere for a third of our lives. Job satisfaction is on the wane because of temporary or zero-hours contracts, because of stagnation, because of fear of quitting your job. And roles with low-skills are places where people clock in, endure customer complaints, and clock out, to do it all again the next day. There is no sense of purpose in these roles, so if you are running a business, you need to make your employees implicitly understand what the purpose is behind their role. How is what they do integral to the whole process? Because if you don’t give them any reason, you’re giving them a perfectly good reason to not turn up ever again. Or maybe they’ll turn up, but only in physical presence.
If your workers want a reason to be at their desk 40 hours a week, giving them a core responsibility does two things. Firstly, it shows your employee that you trust them, and secondly, it takes something off your plate, allowing you to manage your team. So start delegating, and do it properly. Match the duty to the skill set, and communicate yourself clearly. You are placing a lot of trust in your chosen employee, but if there is limited room for error, this has to be put across to them in a manner that motivates, rather than demoralises. This links back to the sense of purpose. If an employee has an idea that they think can move the company forward, and you give them a shot at developing the idea, it builds purpose, and it places a responsibility on their shoulders.
If your employees are taking on a weight of responsibility, the sense of pride or purpose will only cut it if they are being paid for their duties. It’s a very common scenario now, people are being delegated more and being paid the same and are expected to get on with it. Ultimately, if people are going to work harder and potentially longer hours, they will need to provide more for their families in lieu of their time in work. This could be child care, extra provisions, better health care, or anything that will make your employees think that doing more work has a purpose outside the office. The best way to motivate your staff is to pay them enough that the issue of salary is off the table. If you pay people a little more that they can focus on their work, instead of using performance related pay, the stress is taken out of the equation. People will always look to see if they are being paid adequately for their duties and all they have to do is a little search online, and they will see if they are being drastically underpaid. You can take the initiative in this, and use a salary benchmarking service to really find out what your employees are worth. Self-worth in an employee can simply be measured by how much they are getting paid, and if you expect your staff to push themselves, meet targets, and do the occasional late night and Saturday morning, they need to see this go into their account every pay day. For the people who are going down the self-employed route, so many are operating without a safety net, and if you, as an employer, can pay a decent wage and provide benefits, they will put in the hours you expect.
It’s part of many business structures now. The opportunity to work from home isn’t just a healthy extra anymore; it’s expected to be part of the framework. The work/life balance is very hard to separate now, with increased communication and longer working hours, people want to reclaim a part of their life back away from the workplace. Letting your staff work from home isn’t that much of a difficult task now, there are services like VoIP and networks that are can operate securely despite where the employees are in the world. Rather than it being a concern that you cannot contact a member of staff because they’re not in the office, they are just as, if not, more contactable than before. Many workers jump ship from their roles because they are unable to stick to the rigours of the 9 to 5 hours because of personal issues. If you can offer them this, they may be willing to take a pay cut from their expected salary because of the freedom you’re offering them.
The reason anybody stays in a company is because of the opportunity for progression. People are seldom happy doing one thing for 30-odd years. They want to climb up the ladder, and they want to be recognised for their accomplishments in the workplace. Google announced a policy where they encouraged employees to spend 20% of their working time to develop ideas that are related to the business. While 20% of 5 days a week equates to 1 day, which is a lot for most businesses, if you encourage your employees to help develop the business via brainstorming sessions or collaboration, you are helping the blend of creativity and innovation take your company to a whole new level.