Business goals

Q&A Summary: How do you involve staff in your business goals? | Efficiency

Sarah Westman is Future-proof’s junior HR manager, working in their business services team

Happiness is the key to employee motivation. Happiness is at the heart of everything we do and is both impacted and influenced by so many different things, including performance. We carefully monitor employee happiness by asking our staff to complete a short monthly survey, where we gauge levels of engagement by assessing how valued they feel, how engaged they are in their work, in what extent they are able to balance work with life, etc. not an exact science as every individual is different, but it has had a huge impact on management and development approaches and what we do on a daily basis to engage staff.
The lines between work and life have become so blurred that it is important that staff have access to fun and enjoyment to balance this. Once you have the values ​​and vision to anchor everything, these keys help staff feel valued. For example, we have a well-used foosball table, ideal for letting off steam. The little things make a huge difference.

Is there any evidence to suggest that companies with documented mission statements or brand values ​​are more successful at getting their people to work in a way aligned with specific business goals? Our research found that an explicit statement of values ​​is integral to aligning company and employee behavior. 83% of the organizations we spoke to had a values ​​statement. Managers working in these organizations were much less likely to experience conflicts between their personal and organizational values ​​than those who worked where values ​​were unstated or unstated.

Dan Kirby is CEO of Techdept

How important are office benefits to keeping staff motivated? We have free tea and coffee (good coffee as well as instant coffee) and also have beers on Friday afternoons – they are cheap and go a long way. Often, our team brings cakes that they or their partners have prepared.
Do you have any advice for small business owners looking to recruit new employees? It may seem obvious, but have a clear job description so you and they know what you need. You can find a great person, but if that’s not the role you need, don’t hire them. Also remember that a good person can learn new skills, while a good technician with a bad attitude won’t help. We have a series of checklists. This means you can hire more junior people and teach them your way (which you wrote down).

Iain Walker is Head of Small Business Sales and Marketing at E.ON

What is the best way to involve staff in energy saving initiatives? What you’ll often find is that people don’t always think about the electricity bill when they’re at work – for the simple reason that it’s not their bill and it’s not their money. This is where leadership comes in – not only leading by example, but also educating teams on the consequences of poor energy habits and empowering them to take control of things outside of their primary responsibilities. This is especially the case if they sometimes don’t know if they are allowed to turn off appliances or lights when not in use.

Organizations and managers often tip over when they think everyone is motivated by the same things. For some people, the financial reward is powerful and for others, personal and professional growth is their biggest goal. Putting everyone in the same rewards program often misses the point. If I’m just starting work, tell me about progression and don’t pay pensions. If I’m a technical expert, then maybe flexible working and secondment opportunities could be a motivation. Taking individual motivations into account is an essential part of building successful teams.

Our research confirms the view that money is not the most important catalyst. Simple things that show a culture of respect, like thanks and praise, tend to come first. Flexible working practices, recognition and opportunities for professional growth are all very important.
I would say it is the gesture and the intention rather than the actual reward that is given that makes a lasting difference. The memory of a simple “thank you” for a job well done has more long-term value for most people than a thoughtless reward program.

What should SMEs keep in mind when recruiting new employees? It’s really important to remember that interviews are actually a terrible way to identify the best person for the job. Research shows they are not a great performance metric. For this reason, we use group exercises, peer lunches and written exercises to build a fairer and more efficient way of assessing candidates.

Leadership must be clear, visible and consistent – lead by example. One company I knew always gave cakes to the team – but no senior manager ever seemed to talk to anyone. If you communicate big plans, follow them and communicate what was achieved next.

Dr. Jill Miller is a research advisor at CIPDthe professional body for HR and people development

Keeping your staff engaged with your goals should be a priority. At the start-up stage of a business, the purpose of the business is often very clear, as everyone has personal contact with the owner. My CIPD research suggests that as the workforce increases and that personal contact decreases, keeping people engaged with your goals and vision needs to become a more formal and focused activity.

Read the rest of the live Q&A here.

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