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Happy staff lead to happy customers

Do you shudder when you hear the words “staff management”?

High staff turnover and disengaged, unmotivated, overworked or disgruntled staff can be the cause of a slow and painful end to a small business.

Your customers are not stupid. If they are constantly being introduced to replacement staff members or sense a lack of interest or frequent high stress levels amongst your team, they may reach their own conclusion that there are reasons to not be impressed by your business.

An unhappy staff member can be toxic to your business, spreading dissatisfaction on to other employees and damaging the reputation of your business.

As small business owners, you need to focus on what you can do to maximise the effectiveness of your team while keeping a close eye on the overall health of the business.  In doing this, you must remember that your staff are an asset, rather than a financial burden.

Keep people motivated, engaged and inspired. When people are respected, listened to, understood and valued they are able to generate ideas and raise concerns early on.

You can always provide training and education to address skill levels. A good attitude however cannot be gained through extra education. So encourage your team members to take pride and ownership in your business. Make sure they know they are vital to the success of the business and are valued for their attitude and contribution.

While staff are expected to manage themselves, employees cannot be treated as mere generators of money. They need to be treated as a whole individual. This includes the need for recognition, appreciation, gratitude and feedback.

Be present and available. Make sure that your team understands your measurable expectations of performance and conduct structured performance reviews on a frequent basis – even if you only have one staff member. Don’t forget that your team represents your business on a daily basis. Make sure they understand what this means for them.

Reward behaviour that is productive, create incentives for those who come up with new ideas to win or retain business, and honour all promises that you make. This is good news for the productivity and innovation levels in your business.

Easier said than done? Well, being a small business owner does not mean that you should be an employee engagement or HR specialist. Successful business owners know when to ask for help, and this may be one area that is worth seeking help from a consultant for. Staff management and employee engagement is far too important to ignore.

What do you do to keep your staff motivated and encouraged to perform at their best?

What do you think?

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Rick Mapperson

Rick Mapperson

Rick Mapperson is the founder and managing director of Rick Mapperson and Associates ( http://sydneyinsurancebroker.com.au/), a personal insurance brokerage. Rick has been insuring people, particularly small business owners, for twenty years. Rick combines his skills as a licensed Financial Planner and his understanding as the co-founder of an Australian charity focused on families, to understand the best interests of his clients. You can follow Rick on twitter @RickMapperson

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