Ask any good entrepreneur, manager, or business proprietor what the most important asset of their company is, and most of them will say: employees. Often overlooked, employees are your first line of defense and the first point of contact for your customers. With that said, if you ask those same people which of their assets are the biggest headache, many of them will also say: employees.
Employees can be, by nature, dissatisfied. It can be difficult to manage them in a way that maximizes their productivity while minimizing their griping. It can be difficult to choose the right employees for leadership development, promotion, and reward as well as when it is time to simply let them go.
As the leader of a business, it is extremely important that you successfully mold your employees into the image you wish your company to project. With that in mind, consider the following proven – and often unconventional - tactics to keep things positive:
- Stay involved in the hiring process. Consider this your “ounce of prevention.” Many CEOs have reflected on their interest in the recruitment process. While you needn’t personally interview everyone who works for you, you should consider having a short meet with you included toward the end of the hiring interview. Often, this will A) help you weed out undesirable employees, and B) give that potential employee a great first impression.
- Find employee “perks” that you can live with. Because many famous companies now offer unusual perks to employees (likeGoogle’s renowned massages and video game rooms), it’s almost come to be expected. Don’t feel obliged to go crazy, but do find something appropriate for your company. For instance? Travel companies might offer a bonus in the form of flyer miles. Other popular – and offbeat - perks include:
- Meditation and serenity rooms. A quick duck into the Land of Zen can help an employee who is having a rough day get back on track.
- A “Pets Welcome” policy. Furry companions tend to bring out the best in people. Of course, this pet policy should come with a few leashes, pardon the pun.
- Free lunches – because hey, you’re always being told there’s no such thing, right?
- Offer flexible hours. The “9 to 5” has stopped being desirable. For many, it is symptomatic of a generalized melancholy that has swept the workforce. While you should, of course, expect employees to complete a certain number of hours, and hold them accountable for their performance, it’s worth considering flexibility. Consider allowing employees to telecommute some of their hours, or to set schedules and deadlines (within reason). It will ease the burden of balancing their work with the rest of their life, and they will love their job more for it.
- Recognize their worth. Employees appreciate a chance to shine. Leadership development is important. Developing the skills of stars within your company can be far more effective than headhunting. What’s more, your entire workforce will appreciate the fact that you promote from within. It will give them real hope of advancement, and they will reward your decision with their best work.