Growing your business with great people
Great people are the backbone of every business. This article covers some top tips to help you grow.
Tip one – Remember just how good life is with great staff
Wouldn’t it be good if your staff always did a great job for your clients? Wouldn’t it be fantastic if they sorted out problems before they landed on your desk or in your ear? If they were smart and always looking to improve things, your business would succeed with much less effort on your part.
Is this a pipedream? Actually, no. I have worked in organisations where this happens although it takes ongoing commitment and lots of hard work to get there. But it’s very much worth it.
Tip two: Recruit carefully
You only get great staff by recruiting really carefully.
When you are under pressure and trying to recruit, it can be tempting to settle for the mediocre, or even worse. That’s always a bad idea. Poor staff will upset your customers and lead to refunds and disputes. They can’t be trusted and create mayhem if you aren’t constantly watching and managing them.
They are much less productive so even when they are poorly paid they are a bad deal. Other staff get demotivated too, they think that if these losers can get away with such bad work, why am I working so hard?
So, recruit with care. Here are some tips that I have used in my company:
Look at their track record
Poor employees rarely last long in a job. Multiple short stays are a sure sign of issues. Previous promotions and pay rises are a sign of good employees.
Remember that after two years someone smart and willing with limited experience will be smart and willing with experience too. Someone more limited with lots of experience will still be the same after another two years.
Always take up references
Try to talk on the phone and keep them talking. Most people want to be as positive as they can be, the longer you chat to them, the more likely you are to hear the truth.
If you can, bring candidates in for a day’s work before you offer a job. That enables you to gauge them better and see if they fit in with the team.
Tip three: Communicate
Keep your lines of communication with staff wide open. Take time to explain your priorities and details of jobs, they can’t read your mind. One of the biggest complaints in companies is usually “nobody told me”.
When a job has been well done, feedback quickly. Great performance warrants immediate praise.
When you spot poor performance, think of it as the person needs help. Talk to them quickly and try to understand the issue. This gives them the chance to improve and for you to understand any special circumstances such as trouble at home. Never leave things to fester while you get more and more frustrated, that doesn’t help anyone. Confrontation is hard but letting things slide is even harder in the long run.
Tip four: Keep them motivated
People will usually be motivated if they feel they are being treated fairly and can take pride in their job. Following the advice on communication is half of the battle.
Remember to give your praise in public, and always save any rebuke for a private meeting. Publicly humiliating people is the most demotivating thing you can do. Also, it won’t help other staff who may be embarrassed and feel sympathy for the person on the end of it.
Make criticism constructive and never give them a hard time to help you feel better. Never say “this is my business”. You want them to treat it like their own not rub their noses in it. Have an attitude of saying “yes” to occasional special requests if you possibly can. It builds loyalty.
Tip five: Be sensible about salary
Funnily enough, a high salary may initially attract people but it’s not a huge motivator. What is a problem is when people feel they aren’t being paid fairly. That’s a huge turn off. Also watch the comparison between salaries. It’s best to adjust any unfair discrepancies over time rather than take advantage of people who aren’t pushy. If they find out they are being underpaid, they will probably never trust you again.
Staff are the key asset in your business. Building a great team is a short cut to building a great company. The better your team, the easier your success will be. That’s why it is so vital to spend time thinking about and acting on putting a great team together and keeping them motivated. Good luck!