As a small business owner, you know that managing employees can be a challenge. But if you take the time to talk to your employees and listen to what they have to say, you can create a winning team.
Emphasize the importance of each of your employees as part of the crew, no matter what his or her job title. Sure, you’re the CEO — but if it weren’t for your assistant, you’d still be the one licking the stamps for that last-minute mailing. Most employees, especially entry-level ones, have skills that aren’t tapped in the course of the average workday. These skills could be used to enhance your business. Today’s assistant might grow into a crack account manager a year from now.
Let your employees know that you recognize and value their strengths, capabilities and contributions. This positive reinforcement can be delivered in any number of ways: through e-mail, private conversation or in the middle of a company meeting.
Another excellent way to show your appreciation is to help your employees learn and grow on the job. Ask them where they’d like their careers to go, then find creative ways to help them get there. This might involve letting them sit in on key meetings, assigning additional responsibilities or setting up informal training sessions to teach them about a different facet of your business. Cross-training employees is an investment on your part, but the result — having employees who are stimulated and excited about their jobs — can make it all worthwhile.
Lastly, keep your employees informed about how the company is doing, either through company meetings, a bulletin board or private conversations. Let them know when existing clients leave and when new ones come on board. This gives employees a greater feeling of involvement in the future of the company. Not only that, it can help them plan their workloads more efficiently.
In business, loyalty is a two-way street; if your employees feel you’re committed to them, they will be committed to you. Communication is the key.