When we mention people stuff to our clients, who are small business owners, they automatically think contracts and payroll. The next thought is sometimes about procedures and discipline… but there is so much more to dealing with your workers than just employment law and procedures (as important as they are).
For you to get the best out of your people you need to understand what most people want and expect from work. Most of these things are pretty straightforward, but as a business, are you providing these things to your team?
- Job Security – No one expects a job for life anymore, but people want and expect to have a level of job security; that they will be given work to do and can meet their mortgage payments.
- Performance Appraisal – People want performance feedback. They want to know that they are doing a good job, or what to do to give a better performance. They also want to know that their colleague’s performance (whether good or bad) is recognised.
- Career Opportunity – A chance to progress and move upwards. Not being stuck in a dead-end-job.
- Training and Development – A chance to increase their knowledge and skills so that they can be better at their job.
- Recruitment and Selection – A chance to apply for any opportunities that do come up – knowing that the decision will be fair and based on knowledge, skill and experience.
- Pay Satisfaction – Being paid fairly for the work and effort that they put in. This doesn’t mean high pay, but people compare what they earn to others and to how they feel they perform. They expect to be paid fairly.
- Work life Balance – People want to be able to spend some time with family/at the gym/socialising etc. No one expects to be a slave to an employer.
- Job Challenge – People want a level of autonomy and some challenge to their work, making it more interesting and stretching their minds. This makes them feel more valuable to the business.
- Team Working – People want nice people to work with. Having a sense of comradery and a team that share their goals and experiences goes a long way to keeping people happy at work.
- Involvement – People want a chance to have their say. Whether it be contributing to making improvements to processes or products, or that they have a voice to let you know that something isn’t right.
- Communication – People want to know if something is happening that will affect them. Clear communication routes from conversations to more formal methods. Poor communication makes people feel let down.
These things are known as performance drivers and have been formally identified* as things that can lead to staff giving discretionary behaviour – going the extra mile to give a great service that in turn leads to increased outputs and profit for your business. And, if you can give those things to your team, they will love working for your business and try their best. However, you also need to have the following things to make it work:
- Good managers that manage people fairly and reasonably
- Sophisticated policies and procedures for your managers to follow
- A Vision for your business that you share with your people
- Good people with the right skills and abilities in the first place…… but these are all blogs for another day!
It’s also worth noting that if your business has most of the performance drivers in place, but you do one of the other performance drivers really badly – whether it be poor pay, poor communication, poor managers or whichever, your people will withhold their discretionary behaviour!
I did say that the people stuff was a lot more than just contracts and discipline!
So how does your business compare? Are you allowing your staff to give you their discretionary behaviour and increase your profits?
* Purcell, Sustaining Success in Difficult Times.