Owning and running a business is not a full-time job, it’s more than full-time. The hours are long, the lessons hard. The reward not always as quick or as valuable as you would hope. Through my time and experience in the world of entrepreneurship I have learned a lot of great lessons on what makes a successful business, and what doesn’t. I’ve hired many people, fired some, and lost a few along the way to bigger and better things. I’ve taken the things I’ve learned over the years and tried to implement them into my businesses today, but one thing stands out.
Take care of your employees
Your employees are hired to do a variety of different job functions. While some of the tasks they complete may seem menial, all are generally important to the successful operation of the business. No matter how big or small the job role, you hired your employees to help run some aspect of your operations. If you don’t take care of them, they won’t take care of your business. And that can spell disaster. Aside from poor job performance, failing to take care of your employees can lead to high-turnover. High-turnover leads to downtime and increased hiring and training costs. It can lead to negative publicity from disgruntled employees. All of this leads to bad news for your business.
What does it mean to take care of your employees?
Taking care of your employees is a multi-faceted operation. The first thing many companies focus on is pay, and pay is important. If you’ll recall Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, there is data to support that employees need to have their basic needs met. This includes pay and job security, healthcare, a safe-work environment, and the like. Without these basic needs met, a company cannot expect to retain their talent and ensure great performance.
But there is more to taking care of your employees than just the basic needs. The culture of your organization is one of the most vital pieces of your business. Culture is the sum of your repeated activities. It’s what you do. It’s how you act. If you repeatedly dismiss employee suggestions or input, then your culture will produce employees that feel unvalued. They will feel like their opinions do not matter. Eventually they’ll stop offering them. They’ll become disengaged. Even if you pay them more than any other similar job in the area, eventually they’ll leave. Taking care of your employees means giving them training and development where needed, but letting them perform and succeed in their areas of skill and talent. Letting them perform creates a sense of accomplishment and develops a connection between the employee and your organization. It will cause your employees to become invested in the results your company achieves. As I’ve learned to listen and value what employees can bring to the table, I’ve seen an increase in employee performance and greater success in my businesses as a whole.
Take the time to evaluate your culture and what it’s producing. What artifacts exist as a result of the repeated things you do? Do you have employees that feel valued and important to your operations? Do your employees link their personal success to the success of the business? Or do you have employees that are disengaged, uninspired, and uninterested in helping your business succeed? If it’s the latter, start making some changes today. It starts with you.