Why Employees Are Vital To SME Business Success

In our hyperconnected world, where everyone is a critic, employees are any business’ most powerful asset.  Employees can make or break a business based on what they say about you and how they behave.

The evidence for having an engaged team is also overwhelming. Organisations with highly engaged employees enjoy:

  • 2x greater net profit
  • 5x increased revenue growth
  • 12% higher customer satisfaction
  • 59% increased innovation
  • 18% increased productivity
  • 40% lower employee turnover

What business owner wouldn’t want this?

Yet despite the fact that engagement is known to be a priority for many, very few get it right; often stumbling over how to approach it.

Engaging people applies to businesses of any size. And it’s not simply by making a few token actions, but should form part of your entire approach to business.

So, if you own a business or manage a team, here are my top tips to help you engage your people:

  1. Recruit and retain the best talent

When a large piece of work comes in there’s an immediate need to recruit. But getting it wrong can cost you both time and money.

Think about why should people come and work for you, what makes you better or different to anyone else, what’s in it for them? When you have clarity on what it is you offer, you can then look at recruiting and marketing your roles to people who have the same values and aspirations as yourself. It may take longer to find the right person, but it’ll pay off in the long-term.

  1. Treat your employees as you would treat your customers

Hopefully for most businesses, this means providing exceptional service, but if you apply this internally as well – and treat your employees as you would your customers – then they will in turn be more engaged, feel part of the journey, be motivated and enthusiastic. This will make a dramatic difference to your customer service. Research shows that customer service scores can increase by 12%.

“The way you treat your employees, is the way they will treat your customers” Richard Branson

Furthermore, the way in which your employees communicate with others and talk about your company will be largely dependent on how they feel when they are at work, or how they are treated by their line managers.  We already know that most people leave their job due to poor line management, but everyday behaviours are driven by emotions and this could be costing your brand and bottom-line too.

  1. Provide opportunities for ongoing learning and development

Ongoing learning and development can help people develop their skills and ability to manage. Talk about what engagement is, what it means to your team and what it feels like to be part of a team that is high performing. Also, do remember to support people as they climb up the ranks with their people management skills. People are generally promoted based on performance rather than ability to inspire and motivate others. The latter are crucial skills to help encourage an engaged team.

  1. Listen and communicate

Two crucial characteristics for any leader manager. Take the time to really listen to your team. What are they saying?, Why are they saying it?, How can you help? Do they have ideas to address any concerns they have?. Similarly, make sure you are communicating effectively and in the right way. You might want to consider undertaking a communications audit to check that the messages you want to communicate are being received in the right way and being understood.

Employee engagement isn’t rocket science but it should be a crucial part of how you run your business on a day-to-day basis. Get it right now and you’ll reap the benefits in the long-term.

If you are looking for any help in engaging your employees either through training, gathering insights, communications or just want to know more. Please do get in touch. I’d love to hear from you.

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