If you’re sick of the limitations and frustrations that your current job is placing on your career, starting on the path of entrepreneurship can be a great way to reclaim your career and your life. But when you start your own business, it’s vital that you remember that you are not alone. While your skills, knowledge, expertise, and vision may be what gets the business off the ground, even the strongest will and most inspired vision will only get a business so far. You are the guiding force behind the business, but it needs a skilled and dedicated workforce to facilitate your vision. It’s the people you hire who will help to bring your vision to life and take your business to the next level.
But even if you take the time to find the cream of the crop, employing a rigorous screening process to ensure that your business starts out with the best, how can you guarantee that you’re getting the most out of your workforce?
Here are some tips for ensuring that your employees are as motivated, inspired and productive as possible, while also keeping your overhead and operational costs manageable.
Outsource your recruitment
A great workforce starts at the recruitment process. But while you may (understandably) want to take a hands-on approach to recruitment, not all entrepreneurs are necessarily equipped to oversee the recruitment process. They may have a very clear idea of what they want, but this doesn’t mean that they can recognize it in candidates. Inevitably, they go with their gut and this can lead to new hire failure rates of up to 50% within 18 months. This is doubly true if you don’t have a specific recruitment process with an established scoresheet which the entire panel uses as an assessment rubric to quantify and judge candidate performance in their resumes and their interviews.
Consider outsourcing your recruitment to a third-party service provider. They can work collaboratively with you to establish a criterion for each role against which you can measure candidates.
Ensure that you have a set onboarding process
Even when you have the perfect candidates at your disposal, there’s no guarantee that they will be able to slide seamlessly into their role. This is why it’s important to have a set and consistent onboarding process.
This helps them to not only get a working understanding of their role’s duties and responsibilities but also the health and safety implications of the workplace and the corporate culture that you want to create and perpetuate.
Effective onboarding also helps candidates feel better integrated into their teams and ensures that workplace relations get off to a healthy and harmonious start as soon as possible. It’s the best way to ensure that new hires feel like an integral part of your business and an active contributor to what makes it great.
Ensure that you instill the right workplace culture
Your business’ workplace culture plays a huge role in defining what makes your business unique and sets it apart from the competitors snapping at your heels. As such, it’s worth taking the time to think about the kind of workplace culture you want to create.
Needless to say, it should be one in which all employees feel safe and valued, but there’s more to creating a workplace culture than this. It should be intrinsically tied to your mission statement and play a vital part in defining and perpetuating your business’ sense of identity.
There are no set rules for creating a workplace culture, although this article from Forbes has some useful pointers. Do you want to encourage teamwork and collaboration? Drive efficiency and innovation? Promote health, sustainability, and wellness? Ensure that everything you do has a strong ethical focus? Use your mission statement as your north star and you can’t go far wrong.
Make sure your work environment is conducive to productivity
As important as your workplace culture is, let’s not underestimate the importance of the workplace itself. Employees work better when they know that their working environment is safe, pleasant and ergonomically designed to be comfortable for them to work in.
There are numerous factors that can determine how productive your team is in the workplace. The amount of natural light they’re getting (this is referred to by the Harvard Business Review as the Number One office perk). Whether you opt for an open office plan or cubicles (or a combination of the two). How many plants you place in the office and where you put them and even the color of the walls can play a huge part in influencing the feelings, attitudes, and behavior of your workforce.
Are you pushing them too hard?
There comes a point in every entrepreneur’s career when they realize that working hard is less effective than working smart. As much as we all want to prove our dedication and work ethic by remaining slavishly at our desks, this is rarely conducive to peak productivity.
Make sure your employees are able to take rest breaks. They should be encouraged to get up and move around at least once an hour to mitigate the health risks of sitting down for too long. They should have access to unlimited drinking water and healthy snacks. They should never be encouraged to work through lunch breaks and they should have a space where they can go when they need to get away from their screens.
A rested and happy mind is invariably a more productive mind!
Do you provide them with the flexibility to achieve a work / life balance?
Not all employees are motivated by money. Many simply want to be able to be there for their families when they’re needed and to enjoy a life that has a healthy balance between work and personal life. You can help them enormously by being flexible with working hours, enabling telecommuting (which can also drive down operational costs) and allowing employees to exchange shifts.
Do they feel like their opinion matters?
Finally, not all entrepreneurs are perfectly placed to make operational changes. Sometimes, the employees on the front lines can lend their perspective to making extremely pertinent strategic decisions that can benefit your business enormously. Make sure that each and every employee, regardless of what they do for you and how many hours they work, has a platform to voice their ideas, concerns, and suggestions.
When employees are empowered, liberated and cared for, you can be sure to retain them for longer, reducing recruitment costs and ensuring that you don’t lose top talent to your competitors.