It’s easy to think that in order to run a successful business, you need to crack the whip and squeeze every last ounce of value out of your staff. In some respects, it’s important to stay firm. If someone is continually taking days off, making a mockery of your process or acting as dead weight, disciplinary and dismissal processes might be needed.
But it’s also essential to, as a baseline, ensure your staff are happy at your firm. If not, then standards slip. It can be easy to think that staff will just leave if they are unhappy, but in some job markets that’s not as easy as you think. Some might prefer to stay for the security and financial comfort of a job while stress harms their working productivity, or they simply decide to achieve the bare minimum. No, actualized people, those who care about your brand, those are the people you want to work at your firm.
But it’s your job to actualize them through their career. It doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and you can’t expect your staff to always bring their best selves if you don’t give them that conduit. So, let’s consider how you might achieve this with care and intention:
A Rational Work/Life Balance
Some careers are known for their heavy time investment during the working week. For example, you wouldn’t expect to only work 35 hours a week as a partnered lawyer. Yet does this mean you should completely revert your needs for a healthy work/life balance? We’re not so sure that would be healthy. If anything, a rational work/life balance is needed, in fact, it’s absolutely essential.
This is where you need to consider your work schedule. If we’re not being naive, most business leaders know that overtime, working through lunches or a range of other effort-laden requirements are needed, even when fully staffed. But it’s important to know what features your work schedule should include, so that you can disseminate that information to our staff well. It can take a little time to implement a schedule that works for you, your staff, and the repeated sustainable needs of your business. And yet this is what you must fine tune, over and over again, in order to get to the best result. We think you can achieve this, with the resources linked.
Training your staff is essential. You cannot simply expect staff, even if experienced, to be aware of every single process you have to deal with. They might not understand your working module, you might not have taught them of practical procedures unique to your firm, or they might just be confused with a process and need a further explanation. Do not treat this as a waste of time.
The more you can engage the learning interest of your staff, the better. For example, let’s use a business everyone can understand to illustrate this point - a restaurant. Let us say you’re making new changes to the menu. Instead of simply telling your staff how to describe the menu and showing them what it looks like, have them taste each item. Get their thoughts. Ask them how they might describe it, and what wines those foods would pair with. This is the difference between an order and helping staff absorb the new direction, able to use this to inform their best work.
In an office setting, it can be the same way. For example, helping them become aware of the intimate details of a client’s brief rather than simply telling your staff to do something a certain way can inspire the best work, and help the entire team, even in a hierarchical structure, feel like more of a collaborative environment.
Confidentiality And Respect
It’s essential to treat everyone the same way. Treating staff with confidentiality and respect is essential. No matter if they have been accused of workplace bullying, stealing from your stock room, or simply failed to make a certain deadline. It’s important to give everyone their fair chance, and be as neutral as possible from your HR perspective as you can.
Sometimes, unless essential, having your HR staff inform you of only the lightest, anonymous and most needed details of caring for a certain employee can help them retain their dignity, especially through essential matters such as mental health issues etc. There is a way to conduct this work and keep an open door policy that will always help your team know you are there for them. This is important.
With this advice, we hope you can ensure a happy staff, and from then on a happy business.
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