Do Staff Care About Your Business?
Employment Relationship Troubles?
A few weeks ago, I was discussing staff issues with a friend who owns a highly successful business and employs over one hundred people. He commented “Well I don’t know what more my staff expect of me! After all, they get their pay checks on time every month. In December, even a few days early!” His contention was that he owed his staff nothing more than a pay check – but I disagree.
Believing - as a business owner - that there is no need for anything more in the employment relationship than paying for work done, is a little bit like believing that an intimate personal relationship requires nothing more than fidelity. It is like believing that as long as you are faithful to your partner, the relationship will work. It won’t. You see, all relationships require input. Remaining faithful to your partner, without further input, is a passive and dangerous approach to take. “I’ve never cheated on her/him. What more do they want from me?”
Invest In People
I firmly believe that you need to invest in people, whether in personal or business interactions. Please don’t mistake that belief for a blinkered, all-forgiving approach to HR (Human Relations) in business. Similar to how two-year old children push the boundaries to test where the various limits lie with their parents, elements within your staff contingent will test the boundaries of the business. The answer is equally similar – firm and clear boundaries. But that does not mean your staff are robots and function best purely because of a strict set of rules. Your staff are people, and the beauty about people is that there are seven billion individuals… and counting. Fixed rules certainly have their place in maintaining control, but your business is not only about control. It is also about encouraging the best out of your assets, which include things such as your own skills and abilities, capital, machinery AND your people.
Many business owners will tell you that wise investment is a key to success. Examples of this might include buying the property on which your business operates so that you don’t have to pay rent to a landlord; or constantly upgrading output of your machinery to improve production volumes; or surrounding yourself with the right, knowledgeable experts in fields like accounting, tax or law. Without taking anything away from all of those, I am a firm advocate of another type of investment. Invest in your staff.
Start-up businesses generally have limited cash flow and many entrepreneurs are shaking their heads in amazement at my ignorance. “Where will the money come from to invest in staff?” The beautiful answer is that it costs nothing.
Believe in Your Staff
We all have an inherent need for affirmation, a pat on the back, a smile of thanks, and it is this investment that I am speaking about. While there is an enormous amount of value (when finances permit) in investing in staff skills’ improvement courses, think about the following for a moment. Do you want a brilliantly formally educated staff member who puts in only the bare minimum at work? Or would you rather have an enthusiastic person giving you their very best effort for your business? I definitely enjoy the glow of pride at a job well done, particularly when it is recognised. And if I receive some genuine thanks for my efforts, you have made my day!
Believe in your staff, have a bit of faith in them. Invest in them.