People: Your most valuable asset
As a business owner your people are your most valuable asset. They deal with your customers on a daily basis, and it’s up to them to make sure every person who walks into your store has the best experience possible.
Your success depends on the people you hire, so it’s important to make sure you build a team that shares your passion, and has the skills you need.
At Merchant Capital we understand that keeping great people is just as difficult as finding them, so we’ve put together some handy tips to help your business succeed in the HR arena.
Plan your path
Writing down what you stand for (your values) and where you want to go (your vision) is the perfect way to define who you are as a business. This exercise can also help you start to define a culture designed to attract the right kind of people.
If you already have a vision and mission statement, ask your team whether they think it’s still relevant. Bringing everyone together to decide what kind of business they want you to be will help transform your staff into a team, and you’ll get invaluable insights into the way your own people perceive your current approach.
Most importantly, you will have a reference point to guide you as you grow.
Thought starter: Ask everyone on your team for one word that describes your business and use it to write a simple sentence about who you are.
Understanding Human Resources
Managing your team is an intricate, technical process so it’s crucial to get a broad understanding of how HR works.
Hiring an HR manager or a consultant is the next step you need to take to turn your vision into success.
Apart from offering you advice around legal employment technicalities like wage increases, leave allocation and performance reviews, an experienced HR manager can help you find and hire people who fit your business’s unique culture.
For your employees, an investment in HR is a sign that you are committed to their happiness. They will also have a single point of contact to discuss workplace issues.
Thought starter: If you have someone who is passionate about HR, send them on a course to learn the skills they need instead of looking externally – there are options available online.
A number of tools have been developed to help business owners manage their teams on their own.
Most of our clients at Merchant Capital have found that packaged solutions from companies like SAGE and XERO make it easier to manage the financial and staff side of their businesses.
Apart from automated payroll services and easy-to-use accounting, most HR tools include leave management and other processes that you can incorporate to manage your team more efficiently.
Thought starter: There are loads of online HR tools that you can use for free – try them out but make sure that they are legitimate!
Recognise, Reward, Retain
Recognising and rewarding great work is central to keeping people happy at work.
People want to feel like they belong to a community so send out a survey and find out what type of rewards they actually want. Once you have the results, make it happen – within reason.
The chance to claim peer recognition or a great reward will motivate everyone in your businesses to give their best.
Thought starter: Rewards don’t need to be financial. An afternoon off or a post on your business social media pages will make a difference. Don’t forget to rotate winners!
Open the Communication Channels
Conflict is inevitable when people have to work together, especially if stress levels are high.
It is very important that people have the opportunity to voice their frustrations before they turn into a real conflict. Make sure you have an open door policy, and make yourself available to listen to complaints, concerns and suggestions.
Ask your HR manager or consultant to explain how formal issues need to be handled and share that info with your team.
You will find that listening will allow you to stop any negative actions before they turn into more than they should, and if things do escalate you will have systems in place to address them.
Thought starter: Always make sure that you have a mediator present during important conversations to keep things objective.
Keep your Team Inspired
Even the happiest employees are going to need new challenges and stimulation to keep them content and delivering their best.
Try to teach your team new skills and set weekly, monthly and annual work challenges. Online learning services from LinkedIn and Lynda.com are a great place to train people in a cost-effective way.
Don’t forget that inspiration is everywhere. Make your space as interesting as possible and if you can, give people the chance to work in new environments.
Thought starter: Share things that inspire you with your team. Movies, books, songs and even YouTube videos can spark great performance.
The modern workplace is full of handy tools and technology that you can use to make all of the above processes simpler. Whether you are planning leave or just need a tool to help manage big projects, the tools you need are often a click away.
Most business owners find that they lose track of everything they need to do, especially as they grow. Remember The Milk is a free reminder website that also has an app you can download. Not only will it remind you what you need to do, you can also share reminders with people involved on projects, and divide work and personal tasks.
A more formal working tool is Trello. This is a website that allows you to create boards and assign specific tasks to people on your team. It also has email reminders when tasks are due plus everyone can keep track of discussion on the platform.
Even creating a staff group on WhatsApp can help you stay connected with everyone in your team more effectively.
Thought starter: You don’t need to buy software straight away. Look for online tools and free demos so that you cut costs and find exactly what you’re looking for.
Work Your Way
By taking a structured, personal approach to the way you manage, choose and reward your team, you can put your business on the path to success.
Just remember that every business is different. Finding what works for you is all about trial and error, but once you find what works best for you, everyone will be happy to give you their very best.