Summary: Good employees keep the business doors open.
- Employee trust and dedication are paramount to a business’ survival.
- Yet some business owners and managers tend to not understand the importance of how they are regarded by their employees.
- But all is not lost if an employer realizes what he or she needs to incorporate to gain their employees’ approval and respect.
- Because without these incentives, a business may as well shut its doors forever.
Let’s be clear: Most businesses do not divulge every part of themselves to their employees. They do not necessarily announce acquisitions or mergers, nor will they openly project layoffs. And while acquisitions, mergers and layoffs can be major developments within anyone’s work world, there are many other goings-on within a business that employees conversely don’t necessarily worry themselves over.
At the same time major developments within a business should without a doubt be shared between a business’ leader and its workers. Of course while discretion often has a bearing on how much or how little is revealed to “everyone” within a business, a fine line regarding company-wide information will nonetheless need to be crossed as to who, what, when, why and how are brought to the forefront of a company’s entire personnel.
To be transparent, honest and have follow through will garner you, the company manager, long-lasting employee appreciation and dedication. Sure, some issues, announcements or long-term plans will be more difficult to discuss with your employees than others. But just the effort alone, or a snippet of information with the promise more details are to come, can garner employee appreciation, dedication and respect.
Now to be sure, what has already been mentioned in this article has to do almost exclusively with business. When dealing with employees, a different approach is needed that may not directly apply to a business’ market share, but more so to what keeps the business together, which are its employees.
Employees expect more than just a press release announcing some great business venture. Those who are serious about their jobs want the same job-related seriousness in return from their employers, especially when the following issues arise:
- A company-wide game plan
- Employee fairness and camaraderie
- Participation in and/or communication about any change in the company’s business model.
All five of these topics hold extreme importance to an employee who both needs and likes their job, and who wish to build upon their worker experience with that job.
Now, what can happen when you have none of these business assets in place, you’re less than cordial or even inviting of your employees to participate in the business’ direction, and you don’t reward them with adequate incentives to stay onboard and do more work?
Well, to put it lightly, complete and total chaos.
Raises and Disappointments
No worker expects to work at a job in which during their multi-year tenure, they do not receive a raise. An employer who fails to reward their workers with monetary compensation can face an insurmountable amount of pressure, both in the long and short run.
Raises (as well as incentives) tell workers two things:
- They are doing work worthy of an increase in pay.
- The increase in pay is a sign of appreciation for the work they do.
While the business owner/manager who awards his or her employees with yearly or bi-yearly raises can subsequently expect a strong retention rate with their employees, the boss who does not offer their employees regular pay increases, leave themselves up to more issues than they would even if they proposed at least a small, near insignificant increase in their employees’ pay.
At least the worker got something, which, yes, is better than nothing, and might prevent that/those employee(s) from hitting the bricks to find better employment.
But even with that, there are employers who believe they can offer lousy pay scales while demanding exemplary work in return.
Well, to those employers, the truth of the matter is that never works out in the long run.
Pay your workers lousy wages, and lousy workers are what you can expect in return. Within that realm, a cheap employer will also experience:
- An abject disinterest among the company’s employees.
- Lousy service and an overall subpar product.
- Workers who are not loyal.
- High turnover rate.
Of the five possibilities listed above that can occur to a boss who is unwillingly to show his or her appreciation for steady conscientious employees, any of the five can very quickly wreck a business and destroy that business’ reputation.
All is quickly lost after that.
Incentives (or the lack thereof)
Incentives are much like raises, yet at the same time can come in different forms than just a larger paycheck.
When given to an employee, incentives show much of the appreciation that a raise can. But they can also do much more.
Incentives, of course, can be anything from tickets to an entertainment or sporting event to an elaborate getaway. Their presence alone, along with the employees knowing what’s on the line toward getting the incentives, can boost production and efficiency levels to new-found heights.
And while not all employees will be incentive winners, the overall increase in worker care, production and efficiency will more likely than not create a long-standing atmosphere of greater appreciation for their work.
Of course as incentives go, mostly anything you can think of that your employees might need or want can make for the perfect award for their hard work. In the long run, both you and they will have greater appreciation and loyalty to each other simply through monthly, quarterly or even yearly incentives.
Aside from raises, some popular worker incentives are:
- A voluntary profit sharing program, such as a 401(k).
- Increased days off/extended vacation.
- Extended maternity leave.
- Financial help with any type of employee education – not just what pertains to an employee’s job.
- Financial help with the education of children who belong to your workers.
Do this, and not only will you invest immensely into your employees, they will have invested right back into you.
Lack of a verifiable business plan
Would you like to know one very fast and deadly way to destroy your business? Hire and maintain a workforce without having either:
- A true business plan.
- A business plan that fluctuates without explanation.
A business without a business plan, or at least a business plan that frequently changes, can be a death warrant to an establishment. It shows that neither you, your business partners, nor your investors haven’t put all the time and effort into sussing out what you want to accomplish with your business.
Not having a true, locked down business plan is what killed so many potentially lucrative ideas in the Dot.com era. During countless occasions, individuals who were all ideas but little substance to bolster that idea up, garnered tens of millions in startup money from fanatical venture capitalists, who as well didn’t seem to know what a business plan was.
Even so, a staff was hired, and only a few months later, let go, leaving the idea person as the worse for wear as they lost:
- Potentially good workers
- Potentially a viable business
- Credibility for whenever their next big idea needs funding.
From the workers’ point of view, having a game (or business) plan for your entity speaks directly to the amount of work, the kind of work and how long they plan to work within your company. If they see, sense, smell, overhear, are hinted to or clued in on anything that would suggest you and your company have no idea of what the hell you’re doing; the rumors will spread like wildfire as the loyalty sinks like a stone in the murky waters of “out of business.”
The smart workers – particularly the ones who have been through directionless Dot.com-type companies and snafu startups will know to jump ship early, and take all they can with them.
And things will only get worse from that point onward.
Of particular danger to the business owner whose business doesn’t have a business plan is the internet, and how sites like Glass Door and Yelp can become a ratings nightmare for their businesses, not to mention their reputation.
Pitting employees against each other
First of all, what the hell kind of good is doing that? This is business in America, not gladiator fights in ancient Rome. And before you say this may be a mismatched comparison, you should be aware that there are many examples of businesses in which the managers pit one employee against another over such things as Christmas bonuses, or even more cruel, their jobs.
This is barbaric at the very least. And pitting one worker against another, or one set of workers against another set, can invariably land you in legal hot water.
Conducting one’s business in such a way has to be, if not a carnal sin, a labor law infraction.
Needless to say, there have been many businesses in which wage earners have found themselves looking over their shoulders to see who might contest them from one week to the next regarding their job, which is no way to spend eight or more hours at a job.
And yet, today’s workers are smart. They know their options, know their rights, and understand that in many states there are labor laws which protect workers from unfair work conditions.
As it is, such an antic as pitting one worker against another, whether it is for an incentive award or their job, will be met with stiff penalties and fines, particularly in states like California.
Changing the business model w/o informing employees
What’s unfair about this topic is that your employees will be forced to learn some new task, process or project from the ground up. And no one wants to go through that.
Conversely, it’s the owner or business manager to know and stick to their business model. Sure, it’s not unheard of that a company may need to occasionally alter how their business operates, but to completely stray to some different type of business which has nothing to do with the initial business puts undo strain on employees.
The result: Once again, mass exoduses, which can lead to mass hiring, mass training and before you know so, mass debt.
If you do have to change your business model, be sure and do so transparently. Let your employees know exactly what is going on. Walk them through step-by-step as you introduce them to your planned business changes. Also let your employees know you are doing this as opposed to surprising them because:
- You like them.
- They produce great work.
- They are kind people.
- You don’t want to break their trust and their appreciation of you.
Inform them openly and honestly of any business changes, and you are bound to win their trust and loyalty for many years to come.
Life is getting no less difficult or expensive to live. Everyone’s workday is lengthening by the hour with nothing given in return to incentivize the worker to do more. While some employees may feel hopeless about this, and mindlessly put themselves to the grindstone to simply get through the day, other employees are growing wise to their bosses and abruptly quitting their jobs without, in some cases, little to no notice for much better working conditions – which are out there.
Is this fair to the employer? In most cases no. However, at the same time, employers need to understand that their workers have value, and if treated in a considerate manner through raises, incentives and an overall respect toward whom they are within what are really their company as well as yours, those same workers will stay loyal to the end. They will readily take on additional tasks, train new employees and put out the best product they can if they feel appreciated.
In the end, employers have to get on track with modern times. As the cost of living increases, so should the cost of employing these workers. Do so, and they’ll stick with you through thick and thin. Ignore them, their needs, and their need to know what is happening with the company, and those who work for you will be as good as gone within the time it takes for a business to shut off its lights – for good.
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