When you started your business, you probably didn’t envision yourself managing the diverse personalities and complex relationships of your employees. But keeping staffers happy and fulfilled — and working toward the same goal — is absolutely essential to the success of your business. And although you may never relish your role of chief human resources, you can establish a culture where respect, a strong work ethic and collaboration are the norm.
Here’s a list of best practices that you can implement for free today.
Hire Values, Not Skills
You have a choice between two candidates. One has the computer skills you need and experience in your business’s industry, but a spotty work history and so-so references. The other will need training on your system and needs a primer on your industry, but brings an impressive background and recommendations. With great training, the second candidate could be worth her weight in gold.
After hiring, set expectations early and don’t hold back your preferred best practices or pro tips for success. Encourage questions and reward trusted employees with more independence. And when you find a candidate you like, strike quickly — because the best candidates are likely to win multiple job offers.
Treat Your Employees the Way You Want Your Employees to Treat Your Customers
You already know that the customer comes first. What you may not know is that your employees will treat your customers the way you treat your employees. Establish a culture where the customer’s needs are the top priority. Spend more time listening than talking. Respect others’ viewpoints, even if you don’t agree. Imagine what you want your employees and customers to say about you — and make sure your actions support your imagination.
Be a Relatable Leader
Spend too long sitting in the ivory tower and your employees won’t have a relationship with you at all. Instead of putting yourself on a pedestal, create an environment where you can share stories about your early days. Be available for questions and as a sounding board for problems. Make sure employees feel comfortable telling the truth. And foster an environment where 360-degree feedback is not just welcome, but is scheduled and expected.
Let Employees Focus on Their Jobs, but Provide Opportunities to Learn
You’ll probably outsource functions you’re not ready to hire for, but that doesn’t mean you can’t give your employees opportunities for professional growth. Be ready to compensate for major changes in responsibilities, but remember that ensuring that employees feel smart and valued is essential for a robust and healthy office culture.
Laugh about limited resources. Celebrate successes together. Create a work family, and care about each other in a warm but professional atmosphere. Be transparent about financial results and customer feedback so employees don’t feel stuck in a silo. And although it might be difficult, don’t interfere if an employee produces excellent work in a style that’s different from your own.
Lastly, encourage honesty with a healthy dash of diplomacy. Because, while truth-telling is valued in the workplace, employee harmony is important, too.