25 September 2014
In my experience, the biggest win for any business is giving people variety in their workplace. Variety can come from a number of things; it could come from playing sport with colleagues but it can also come from being heard, breaking for the day, having a meeting and just listening to people’s opinions. People think of company benefits in terms of material things, yet it doesn’t all have to cost money.
Is it fair to suggest that, in the traditional workplace, employees are often given quite rigid roles to work within? Wherever this kind of limitation happens, it’s a killer. Why? Because it creates boredom and boredom descends into a lack of motivation, which in turn creates a productivity drop.
As a business owner, it’s useful to sit down with your employees every couple of weeks and say, “Right, come on team, what have we learnt? What could we do better?” You’re looking for those marginal gains to continually improve the business. Having that open channel of communication lets people express their ideas and see that those ideas are being implemented. It might take time, but ultimately, it’s important to make sure people don’t just feel like cogs in a machine. They’re shaping the business. They’re contributing. They’re not just ‘below the surface’ workers.
The best ideas, in my opinion, will always come from the people at the coalface; the people who are connecting with the customers – whether it’s customer service or sales or tech support. They’re the people who have far more nouse than consultants or managers.
We often talk about having an upside-down management structure here, and this is what it entails. By consulting the people who are, in my opinion, at the top of the food chain you get a far better idea of your strengths and weaknesses as a business. This is where you will find the best ideas on how to improve, to achieve more and retain talent more effectively. Sometimes it’s worth forgetting the traditional notions of what a business “should” be and just shake things up!