Running a small business can bring with it a multitude of rewards, but also a host of challenges. Building a successful small or medium enterprise (SME) requires more than just personal dedication – you could also, at some point, need to recruit a team of employees you can rely on.
Pulling together a reliable team isn’t just about hiring the right people; depending on your hires, it could also involve maintaining staff morale and nurturing a good team ethic. Many large companies have more disposable income to spend on company cars and external training, so can do this quite easily. SMEs, on the other hand, may often need to work that bit harder, especially since disruption to workflow could have a dramatic effect on profitability.
Here are a few suggestions that could help you achieve a happy – and productive – atmosphere in your SME.
Let employees know how important they are
It could be very easy to make your employees feel important: for example, by always being honest with them. You could make sure that they have a good understanding of the way the business works, and their part in making it a success, to encourage them to consistently offer an excellent product. Uninformed staff may become complacent; informed staff could feel more engaged.
Focus on their wellbeing
There are a number of ways in which an employer could go beyond the basic legal requirements to protect their employees from harm. For example, you could arrange for a masseuse to visit the office one day a week or provide fresh fruit, helping to keep employees healthy and boost morale, as well as reducing sick days. Desk-based businesses could also make sure that their employees’ workstations are ergonomically designed, to prevent lasting back and neck problems for workers.
Open the lines of communication
A lot of bosses claim to have an ‘open-door’ policy, but how many are really willing to have in-depth conversations with employees at the drop of a hat?
Time is often everything at an SME, and managers and directors may not be able to rearrange their schedule quickly. However, SMEs can’t afford to alienate employees. You could consider arranging a monthly surgery to discuss concerns, or consider employee self-appraisal. This involves employees giving feedback on their own performance, and highlighting any issues they may be worried about.
Image credit: Creative Sustainability / Flickr.com