June 18, 2017
“Our employees are our most valuable resource.” – Author Unknown
We’ve heard this before; a hundred fold. Businessmen have said it so many times over the years that most people who work for these entrepreneurs are sick of hearing it, because too many times the actions of the companies do not match the words of the leaders who are quoted.
There is a growing trend among business analysts that say in its simplest form the statement is a lie. They say that people do not matter. That people are interchangeable. That all that really matters is having strong leaders, more assets than liabilities and owning a strong brand.
Balderdash! Or, to be blunt, bull!
Without the people – the right people – companies would not have strong leaders, they would not be able to grow their assets and their brand would mean nothing. While I can almost see that exaggerated frown across your face, there is a reason for this line of thinking. Indulge me for a minute.
In today’s small business environment, it takes a team of people with different points of view and abilities to get an edge on the competition and be successful. The real challenge is selecting the right people and I suppose that’s where the thought that people are interchangeable comes in. But they are not.
Depending on your company’s specific needs, the team you build may look very different than another company in the same industry that is building a similar team. So, how do you get the edge?
The key is to find and embrace people who love the work they do and have the knowledge and experience in the area your company needs. If they truly love what they do, and you provide a nurturing environment for them, they will never think of the work they do as a job. Instead they will have a vested interest in your success. Now, while that may be easier said than done, there is a way to go about it and sometimes the best solution is the easiest one.
Go with salaried employees rather than hourly-waged workers. More often than not you will get more productivity out of your employees. Plus, if you are successful as a direct result of their efforts, do not be afraid to provide bonuses. They go a long way and help build loyalty.
While you must always be a strong leader, sharing both your vision for the company and your expectations of them, don’t be the typical “boss.” Allow your experienced people some leeway and avoid common mistakes like micromanagement. But, make sure they understand never to mistake your kindness for weakness.
A productive and successful working team requires a little give and take. When giving direction, be sure to include specifics. Always provide deadlines. And when catering to their needs and little quirks, be sure they accommodate yours. For example, have them give you access to a running “To Do” list of everything on their plate and at the end of each working day have them provide you with a bullet point summary of what they accomplished. This will not only help with accountability across the board, but it will allow you to help your team prioritize their workload.
While all of this may seem like you are acquiescing to something unnecessary, can you think of a better way to protect your company’s most valuable resource and insure its success?