In business any investment you make has to yield a return. You invest in equipment to increase productivity, you factor the rate of return before you purchase it, you maintain it so that it will keep giving you the desired return. The same rules apply to your investment in your people.
Employees are the biggest investment your business will have. It takes time and money to train and develop their skills. You don't want them to leave because they are not being nurtured in the right direction.
Unlike a machine you can't just turn on a human and expect it to do its job. Employees are a completely different resource. They are complex beings that have emotions, opinions, expectations, their own values and ambitions. They need constant attention to stay motivated and on track.
Employees are integral to your business and a huge investment, you owe it to them and yourself to take the right measures to get good returns all round.
So how do you get the best out of your employees
- Make sure you are clear about what is expected of them. You need to express the expectations you have of them and the job.
- You need to provide them with training and the right equipment to get the job done.
- Decide how you will measure their performance. You could make the decision on performance standards jointly, that way your employees feel more valued. You need to know your people are achieving results and they need to know they are doing a good job.
- Make sure you have systems in place to enable them to implement the performance standard
- Make sure targets are achievable. Take into account economic activity, competition, demographics etc. Nobody likes to fail.
- Always reward them when they are successful. A pat on the back goes a long way and a bonus even further. Share the success with them.
- Once they achieve results give them some autonomy and independence. Employees have their goals and their success should be encouraged.
A boss also needs to be mindful of the following
- Make sure there is an appropriate work/life balance. The old saying “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” has never been more fitting than in today's world. Everything is so fast paced that work can take over your whole life. Ensure your people enjoy their life and they will be more productive.
- Provide a structure for career advancement. Good performers will get bored once they master their job. Learn how to keep them happy through advancement, which will also make the boss' job less hectic.
- Be a good Leader. If you as a boss demonstrate a good work ethic, more than likely your employees will look to that as inspiration and follow suit.
- Provide little benefits like meals, great facilities or an exercise program to promote health. Most people spend more time at work than home, so why not make their environment enjoyable, it can only enhance their attitude.
- Be Flexible. Our work environment has changed, all employees have commitments outside of work so try and be understanding if they need time off to attend to a sick child.
- Your door always needs to be open to discuss any issues affecting your employees or ideas on how to improve the job. Short weekly meetings for discussion of performance, expectations and improvements could assist.
Being an employer is a big responsibility. It is vitally important to work together not against each other. But ultimately the buck stops with the Boss, it is up to you to foster the right environment. If you do your employees will be more productive, business will grow and everybody will achieve their goals.