Take a moment and think about how well you get along with your employees. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being not-so-good and 10 being we-couldn’t-get-along-better, where would you rate your relationships? Realistically, this number is probably different with each staff member, with some climbing higher on the chart and others falling closer to the bottom. However, your relationship with each and every person that works with you can ultimately affect your business.
Case in point: A study published in the Journal of Economics found that, after surveying employers and employees alike, “good relationships between employers…played a role towards the growth and success of the businesses.” They attributed this positive finding to a good employer/employee relationship inspiring workers to put in more effort, produce better results, and provide quality customer service while increasing their competence at the same time.
So what can you do to create a relationship with your staff that can potentially help you improve your bottom line?
Listen to What They Have to Say
Business.com reinforces that listening to your staff’s ideas or concerns, even directly asking for their feedback on a particular issue or topic “helps make your employees feel more appreciated and will ultimately improve productivity.” It also enables you to see things from a different perspective, maybe one that you never before considered.
If you’re a small company, you may make it a point to meet individually with your employees every six months or so just to get their ideas about where they’re at, where they feel you’re headed, and any problem points they are experiencing along the way. If your business is a little larger in size, you can task this to your managerial staff, asking them to prepare a summary or short report that goes over some of the common ideologies among your staff or shares a few of the most notable statements. You can even ask for feedback at staff meetings, encouraging people to share their opinions in an effort to increase communication on a larger, more open level.
Be sure to really listen to what they tell you, so they feel as if they’re being heard versus you just going through the motions. If it’s something that strikes a chord, or you’re not sure how to respond, tell them you’ll think about it and get back to them. Even if you don’t change anything based on what they tell you, the fact that you at least considered it will be appreciated.
Show Them Gratitude
Speaking of appreciation, Workplace Insight stresses that, “when an employee consistently turns in great work yet receives no recognition, you can be sure that his job satisfaction and morale is low. He might even consider finding a company that does appreciate his work.”
It’s kind of like when you’re married and your spouse says thank you for keeping up the house, taking care of the yard, or making sure the car gets in for the oil change. This type of gratitude makes you want to do it again, solely because you know that your mate appreciates it. But it’s a whole different feel when you don’t get those little niceties. When you feel more like it’s just expected, it causes resentment and makes you want to not do it again or try so hard.
Don’t do this to your staff. Make sure they know that you are grateful for the work they do for you. Yes, that is what you pay them for, but when they put in a lot of effort (and then some), it only takes a moment to recognize, yet it nets a lot of results. People tend to work harder for someone who takes a minute and says “thanks for your help on this,” so become that person and you’ll have employees that will likely go above and beyond.
Help Them Achieve Work/Life Balance
When your employees feel cared for on a personal level, they will be more inclined to work harder for you. One way to do this is to help them achieve a balance between home and work, providing them the opportunity to satisfy their obligations at both places without having to sacrifice one or the other.
Leaders in Heels suggests a couple of ways to do this, some of which include:
- Offering flex-time or the ability to work from home whenever possible.
- Changing work times to keep them from having to sit in traffic early in the morning or at the end of the work day.
- Connecting them with resources to help them manage their stress and/or meet their personal health goals, such as eating better or getting in more exercise.
Do these types of things and your staff will feel more loyal to you because you are giving them perks when you don’t necessarily have to.
Out of curiosity, what do you do to keep a good relationship with your staff? Feel free to comment below so other small business owners can learn from you!
I’m always interested in learning other small business owners’ thoughts on relevant topics and issues, so if you have a comment or unique article idea, feel free to contact me at [email protected] (put “Businessing Magazine” in the subject line, please). If I use it, it’s a free link to your website!