Work on Properly Stationing Your Employees
by Dave Thomas
As a small business owner, is one of your challenges finding the right mix of employees to make your operation run smoothly?
In cases such as that, a number of issues can turn what was perhaps a successful company into a business that must fight for survival.
If your employees are not getting along, oftentimes their work will suffer. When their work suffers, that undoubtedly trickles on down to the customer. When the customer is not happy.... well, you know what happens then.
For those small business owners who want to enhance teamwork around the office, there are a number of ways to go about it.
Among the things you should look at include:
1. Who I hire - It sounds like a no-brainer, but do you truly take into account all the dynamics that go into who you hire each and every time? You can have the most qualified person in town interview with you, but if they are not a team player, what good will they do you? Make sure when you or your team interviews someone that you get a good feel for how they will interact with your current staff. Will they be willing to contribute opinions on how best to solve an issue? Will they go that extra mile to help a customer? Will they offer to stay late or come in early in order to meet a project deadline. Yes, a 30-minute or less interview can be tough sledding in order to answer some of those questions, but you should be able to get a feel for their commitment level during the interview process;
2. Where employees sit - Have you ever walked into your office and stopped to consider where your employees are situated? For some employers, they probably don’t care where this or that person sits, just get the work done. Others, however, see the importance of placing certain employees with others. In the event you are an employer who likes the idea of open plan workstations, you can organize your team into areas that best suit your needs, allowing for maximum collaboration. It only makes sense to have your marketing team in one area, the sales team in this area, and the editorial content team in another for example. If you have such a configuration at your company, the sales team should be in a more quiet setting, allowing them to deal with customers on the phone regularly. Meantime, for those that have editorial and/or marketing teams, they too should be in sections where there is minimal noise and disturbances. Lastly, have employees that need to confer with each other close by so they are not having to waste time moving from one section of the office to another to talk business;
3. Open door policy - Finally, do you have an open door policy for your employees? While some employers say they have one, they in fact do not. One of the keys to having a well-oiled office machine is allowing your employees to have their say when things are not right. An employee should never feel threatened or intimidated by coming to you or their manager to discuss a problem in the office. Face it, employees will get on each other’s nerves from time to time, that is the reality of the situation. Let each employee know when you hire them that they are encouraged to voice their opinions of how to better the workplace situation and/or diffuse problems without feeling like there will be negative repercussions to them. It is also wise to have office meetings once a month for everyone to contribute ideas, ask questions of management, and know how the company as a whole is doing. If you don’t want employees keeping secrets from you, don’t turn around and do it to them.
As this new year unfolds, take a look at how you have set up your office over time.
If things need a change, take the bull by the horns and change them, remembering that it takes a team effort to make a winning small business.
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