One of the more common features of 20th century businesses was the need to have very fixed rules to how an employee will be expected to work. Fixed hours (although the culture often required them to work longer), a single place of work, set holiday allocations etc. These rules allowed people to understand what they will receive if they work as they are expected to. Well the most interesting development in business in the 21st century is the need to make things a lot more flexible for team members. To get the best from them they need to be treated as good as any customer you have; as the MD the team are your customers.
Now this sort of talk can often sound pretty fanciful, we would all love to do that if we had the money like Google or Facebook. Well it is a lot easier than having the “right amount” of money to afford extras for your team. There are things you can do that may feel like you will get less from your team that will actually get more from them. These are the things that will be valued and used in great teams of the future.
Firstly give them more freedom and ownership in their role. There are numerous studies from Harvard and other universities that show people who have autonomy in their job are happier and perform better than any others, including those who have high financial incentives such as bonuses.
Improve the Work Environment
You should make the workplace somewhere people love to be. Who on this Earth wants to work in a drab and dreary office space? If you are someone who runs a business, why would you make your greatest asset work in an environment that isn’t conducive to them feeling relaxed and happy? Add some relaxing areas, put in some plants, add a comfy chair or two. People are not machines. They need rest at times and people are fundamentally influenced by the environment, it is how we are built after all. So think about your environment, is it the best space people could be working in?
Make People Happy
Finally a happy team is a hardworking team. This seems like the most basic of all things that your team needs, however it is so often completely undervalued or not even thought of. Quite frankly if your team is not happy it is your number one job to make sure they are. Have you ever thought to yourself I know when I will be most effective, when I am down, stressed, under pressure, not trusted? As the leader in the business you have to step up and lead by example; your team is by far your greatest asset and you should treat it that way.
Well I hope that’s enough preaching for this week.
Love to hear your thoughts below.