As if it’s not hard enough, you’re struggling to make ends meet, and your finances are a constant worry, but then you’ve got to ensure that the motivation and productivity of your employees
But it’s not a difficult thing to keep employees happy; it’s all about asking what they need and providing it. Yes, this is a simplification to its utmost but if you stand any chance of keeping your workers on board, especially when big things are on the horizon, you’ve got to keep them happy before they jump ship. What are the fundamentals?
Showing them your appreciation
Fundamentally, people want to feel valued for the tasks they complete. Showing your appreciation can take many forms, but what we can overlook when we’re so preoccupied with our budgets is that simple gesture, saying “thank you”. Sure, everybody is running around like headless chickens, the tasks are piling up and the deadlines looming ever nearer, but it’s when you’re in the eye of the storm that you need to show your employees how grateful you are.
Workers want to feel but they are doing something, not just a benefit for the company, but themselves. Validation is such an easy thing to implement, but when it’s a skeleton staff operation the sensation of flying by the seat of your pants looms large. Pause, take a
The f-word: Flexibility!
We may have a group of employees that show promise, but we’re not giving them the floor in which to demonstrate their abilities right now. If deadlines and a major workload are threatening to derail proceedings, offering flexible options may be the last thing on your mind. But we have to give employees flexible working arrangements, not just for the job, but for their life.
While that all-important work-life balance is spoken about on a regular basis, even though you’re working 18-hour days, does it mean they need to as well? Besides, with the increase in technology, giving your workers the opportunity to telecommute can help reduce that pressure. One of the telecommuting core principles is working from home, so long as they have an internet connection and a telephone.
When you’re all so busy, are you really communicating that much in the office? In fact, you may not even notice if someone is in the office when you’re so under the cosh. Relax those rules and you will see an increase in productivity. And again, by giving them more flexibility to do their work whenever and wherever, just as long as it’s done, they’re going to be loyal to you.
Give them more duties
If you want to keep your workers happy, it’s about one thing, trust. Trusting people to get things done, when it’s just yourself holding the reins, is a leap of faith. We may struggle with this aspect of things, fundamentally because we have built the business ourselves- it’s our baby. As a result, we won’t let it go so easily. But by implementing employee autonomy, you’re giving the worker the opportunity to take ownership of their work.
By giving them more duties, and offering flexible working arrangements, such as working from home, it’s a sink or swim scenario. But it’s a leap of faith we’ve all got to make as leaders. Primarily because it’s a risk that may pay off, and if it doesn’t, then at least we tried! This is the very nature of business and we’ve got to take risks.
What might happen, especially when you are in such a small working environment, is that your employees will rise to the challenge. Employees could feel constrained, and by giving them a little bit more in the way of responsibility empowers them. Another wonderful by-product of this is you are improving the culture of the business.
After all, it all comes from you- your behaviors and attitudes will set the precedent. Showing your employees you’ve got trust in their abilities, rather than just giving them the bare bones of a task, is a simple way for you to delegate, therefore reducing your stress. In addition to this, it’s highlighting what certain workers can do. As a result, they can feel there is scope for progression.
Give them the opportunity to grow
What we can overlook in this scenario is that when giving employees things to do, it’s for the purposes of firefighting. When we offload tasks onto employees and they complete them with ease, or even better than you would do them, you’re able to see what they’re capable of. From the perspective of any employee, they want to know that what they’re doing is for a purpose.
Not just for the business, but for themselves. While there are employees out there who don’t go into a job with the idea of progression, if you hired a young go-getter determined to take over the world, you can put a bit more trust in their abilities, but also you’ve got to provide them that framework to develop. The way to encourage growth in your employees to find out what their goals are.
Sometimes the benefits to the business are very apparent, for example, learning a language. It gives you automatic scope for progression. But when they’re looking to develop themselves in other ways, you can’t shoot their goals down. It might not appear beneficial to the company at the outset, but if you are seen to actively encourage extra-curricular activities, this is going to make for a more well-rounded, and therefore happier, employee.
Watch for burnout
Keeping your employees happy, especially under the guise of a startup, is tough. We are constantly firefighting problems relating to deadlines and money, and employees can feel that their needs slip by the wayside. Not all employees are looking for the major pay packets; some are looking for a job with purpose.
Others want the opportunity to progress. And you could be struggling with all this because you are working your hardest to keep the business afloat. But if your employees are unhappy where they are, their productivity will suffer, and, what’s more, they will look to leave. We’ve got to look at employee burnout as a key factor when people leave their jobs.
In the startup sector, where everything is balancing on a knife’s edge, employees are more likely to suffer. This is partly why bigger companies are providing a more holistic framework for employees to progress. You might feel this is an impossible task, but if you’re not looking out for the welfare of your employees, then you will go right back to square one.
It’ll be just you, an abundance of orders that needs fulfilling, and you will be working more than 18-hour days! Keeping your employees happy isn’t a difficult thing, but it’s something we can overlook when we’re focused on ourselves on the business. We should take advantage of the startup setup as there’s only a handful of workers.
As the business grows, you will branch out into other teams. It is at this point, you can take advantage of this and nurture a company culture that’s encouraging, but also give you the opportunity to develop your own leadership skills. It’s a learning curve, but we have got to learn to keep our employees happy.