Here are 10 ways to stress less about your employees:
If you run a small business, you probably stress a bit about your employees. There are ways to minimise this stress. The following are my top 10 ways to stress less about your employees.
Step 1. Share your vision for the business with your employees and look after yourself
To begin with, be very clear to yourself about what is your vision for the business! Imagine arriving into work each day, full of purpose and conviction. You know where your business is going (vision), you have a plan to get there (mission) and the standards (values) on how to operate your business.
Similarly, imagine how powerful having that same vision, mission and values understood and shared by your employees would be. Thereby, driving energy, commitment and desire to succeed through the whole team. Moreover, write it out as a mantra and make it visible to all including your customers.
Furthermore, talk to your team and make sure they understand, share and are on board. Hold a breakfast meeting and invite all your team to discuss and share your vision, mission and values. Look for input from the team and listen to their opinions. Consequently, you might be pleasantly surprised.
Accordingly, your team can be part of your support network and effect the profitability of your business. Moreover, people love to be part of something worthwhile and meaningful. Especially if they feel they are valued member of it. Therefore, let them know they are valued members of your team by asking for their input.
In addition, if you are feeling stressed, they will notice. Therefore, ask for their ideas to help. Above all, you need to look after yourself, not just your business, by doing some of these great tips each day in this article by Health Ambition.
Step 2. Check that all your employees share and embrace the vision you have
After you have shared your vision, arrange some way to get feedback from each employee. If you have a big team you can use survey monkey.
Ask if they are happy to be part of the journey. Also ask for any constructive feedback and suggestions.
If they are not happy, find out why? Ask them, what else they would like to do. Conversely, if they want to work somewhere else and do something else, thank them for their honesty.
Be gracious and let them know it is OK with you and offer to give them time off to find something else. It is far better to release an unhappy employee who has not got the passion, energy or desire to work well in your business than to try and drag them along to save on the expense and time to find someone who would be a better fit. Besides, they may even know someone who could be a good replacement for themselves, in your business.
Furthermore, wherever possible keep good relations with all your employees including ones that leave. Any that move on will remember you and your business. It would pay to have them saying good things and remembering you fondly. They can often be great sources of referral for customers and new employees.
Step 3. Ask if they have any suggestions to improve the business and its growth
Inviting employee suggestions can provide incredibly valuable insights that can result in increased productivity and profitability. Therefore, ask your employees for their suggestions in multiple areas of your business. Such as, can they suggest any better, more efficient ways to do their own jobs or any aspect of your business.
Create ways for employees to make suggestions as a regular part of their employment. As an example, you could put up a suggestions white board, sticky note area, on line survey or even a good old-fashioned suggestion box.
Encourage suggestions by providing incentives to get good feedback. Generally, people love to have their ideas implemented. Therefore, simply acknowledging any good ideas that result in better outcomes for your business can have huge rewards.
Step 4. Ask and listen to your employees’ opinions. Ask them what could make their roles and their work more enjoyable.
Remember, you don’t have to accommodate all suggestions, but you might be able to compromise and find some solutions. They may have some great ideas about making things more efficient.
Even a whinge can turn out to be constructive feedback. As an example, I recently had an employee at one of my clients complaining about a sales rep. The complaint was the phone was ringing and unanswered. The sales rep was not busy and could have answered it.
Great feedback to put to the sales rep. When you are in the office and not busy, if the phone is ringing please answer it. Simple! He does not have to try and resolve the caller’s matter. He can just take a message.
The sales rep also had a great suggestion. When a particularly large quote comes in, let him know so he can follow up with a visit. It may help close the deal. If they have a competitor with better pricing, he can adjust to meet it. In short, by communicating they are demonstrating their level of commitment and service and improvements are being made all round.
You don’t have to run the business alone. You hired them for a reason, so remember that, and listen to their suggestions.
Step 5. Make sure you are measuring the right things
Make sure you are measuring productivity in terms of what generates growth and drives profits in your business. It must be realistic and measurable not just fluffy pie in the sky or random. Look at your most profitable components of your business and the bread and butter cash flow.
Ensure your team have realistic measures for achieving results in their roles. There is no point giving an order taker a target to achieve sales when they have no ability to drive sales.
Likewise, a sales person has a role related to achieving sales so measuring them on reaching sales targets is good, but the targets must be achievable.
If your sales rep is achieving their targets be happy. Look at how they are achieving them to learn and make sure they are doing the right thing. That is, make sure they are also behaving in the desired way.
Don’t complain about the number of calls or visits they make. If they are achieving their target, they may be making less calls or visits, because they are taking longer with each call or visit.
If the Sales rep is not meeting the sales target, then look at the number of calls or visits. That will provide a bit more information on why they might not be meeting their sales target.
It is not the only reason though. It could be several factors, so check them all before getting stressed. Ask them why they think they are not meeting their target.
You may have a competitor tracking your movements. They may be undercutting your business to obtain the clients. There are many factors to consider. Make sure you look at all of them.
Step 6. Find out what your employees enjoy most about their roles and your company
This should provide you with some valuable insights. Keep a record of what they are telling you to see if there is anything you did not know. See if there is anything you can do more of to keep your team happy and motivated to achieve high performance.
Create opportunities for more of the fun stuff at work. Acknowledge high performance. Have an end of week pizza from time to time. Take the team out to dinner when a big win occurs.
Never leave acknowledgement of your team out. Be prompt in thanking anyone for doing something terrific. If someone had gone the extra mile and does not get acknowledge for it, why would they do it again. It also sends a message to everyone else when you do acknowledge high performance. Others will notice and perhaps strive a little harder to receive acknowledgement.
Step 7. Provide non-monetary rewards to your employees for doing a great job
Ask your team what they would enjoy in terms of non-monetary rewards. Each person is different, and for some people money is not a motivator. A thank you or acknowledgement is perfect for some. Other options are staff celebrations. These can be as small as a morning tea provided by you.
As said above, celebrate success and reward high performance. It is important, because most people love to feel their efforts are appreciated, so a hand-written card for a few dollars can result in thousands of dollars in productivity and/or sales.
Consequently, the results of paying a little bit of attention and rewarding high performance are many folds. As an example, one of my clients bought his team tickets to the movies to say thank you for working on the weekend off to resolve one of their customers issues. Both really appreciated receiving an extra reward in addition to receiving overtime pay as an acknowledgement of their having given up their weekend. Resulting in, them both being more inclined to accept a request to work on the weekend in the future.
Step 8. Recognise your employees when they do something great
A free movie pass or an early finish are all great options for rewards and acknowledgement. Even a simple thank you card can make a person feel valued.
Remember, everyone is different so making a big fuss and public announcement might be great for one person but not so for another.
As mentioned previously, very simple gestures can go a long way. It makes people feel cared about. It also provides an incentive to keep up the good work. Furthermore, it encourages others to do the same.
In addition, the benefit of noticing the good things, is people realise you are watching. Thereby encouraging people to do more good things and less of the wrong things. If they know you are watching, it is less likely they will try anything not desirable.
It also tends to encourage others to speak up when they see someone do something good. The opposite is also true.
Step 9. Stop telling and start asking and listening
Regularly make time to meet with individual employees to discuss how they are going in their role. Share with them how the business is doing and any areas that need improvement.
This is not a one-way conversation. You need to make a point of listening to their feedback. They will probably have some great suggestions as previously stated.
Remember you are a team, not just a solo affair. Ask for input on issues, ideas on improvements. Get suggestions from the team. Many will have ideas and offer up suggestions for better ways to do things.
If something will make a person’s job easier, they are going to want to suggest it. As an example, a warehouse manager at one of my clients, came up with a terrific idea to save time. He suggested pre-packaging some items that he noticed customers regularly order together. Consequently, the sales team now uses these to win over new customers. It is saving a lot of time and bringing in new sales.
Be observant! Don’t keep looking for what is wrong. Notice what is right and comment on the good and great more often than the problems.
Practice a bit of mindfulness in your role as the leader. Observe people for what they do well more often than what they don’t do well.
Therefore, let people know when you see them doing something well. Be mindful of the things you say and the words you choose.
Ask yourself what you are trying to achieve. If you want to encourage growth in your business, you won’t do it by complaining about what is wrong all the time.
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