How to Create a Good Team Ethic in your Small Business Workplace
Running a small business brings with it a host of challenges – and, of course, a multitude of rewards. Building a successful small or medium enterprise (SME) requires more than just personal dedication – you’ll also, at some point, need to have a team of employees who you can rely on.
The role of SMEs as employers in the UK is often acknowledged by the government. The majority of workers in the UK are employed by SMEs, and SMEs also generate around half of the revenue in the UK’s economy. Staff morale in SMEs is particularly important, as any disruption to workflow in an SME can have a dramatic effect on the business’s profitability.
Larger companies benefit from a degree of flexibility unknown to SMEs – staff can be transferred to other departments, for example, if problems have arisen. This wouldn’t be possible in the average SME. Large companies can also afford to invest more money into their staff, offering external training, for example, or employee benefits such as access to company cars. If you’re considering starting your own business venture, or you’re already involved in running or managing one of the 4,000,000+ small businesses currently trading in the UK, you’ll need to work to support high morale and a good work ethic in your employees.
Here are a few tips to help you achieve a happy – and productive – atmosphere in your SME.
Let them know how important they are
This is one of the simplest tips for motivating employees and, thankfully, it plays directly to one of the defining characteristics of an SME. It should be easy enough to make your employees feel important – just be honest with them. The way a team works can make or break a small business. The best way to ensure that employees are motivated to do their best and to consistently offer an excellent product to your customers is for them to have a good understanding of the way the business works – and the stresses and threats which are facing the business. Uninformed staff may become complacent; informed staff will feel engaged.
Focus on their wellbeing
There are a number of ways in which an employer can go beyond the basic legal requirements to protect their employees from harm. Whether it’s arranging for a masseuse to visit the office one day a week or sourcing fresh fruit for the office, keeping your employees healthy helps to keep your employees happy, not to mention reducing days off sick. Desk-based businesses should make sure that their employees’ workstations are ergonomically designed, to prevent lasting back and neck problems for workers. Showing that you’re taking all of this kind of thing into consideration will prove to your employees that you’re dedicated to them – and hopefully they’ll reciprocate.
Open the lines of communication
A lot of bosses claim to have an “open-door” policy, but how many are really willing to have in depth conversations with employees at the drop of a hat? Not many – and for good reason. Time needs to be used efficiently in an SME, and managers and directors may not be able to rearrange their schedule quickly. However, SMEs can’t afford to alienate employees. Consider arranging a monthly surgery for discussing any concerns. Employee self-appraisal is something you could also consider; this entails employees regularly giving feedback on their own performance and highlighting any issues they may be worried about.