This week's episode is about the importance of Mentors - they are business game changes, and life changers.
Here in the UK there is a great business (in my humble opinion) that really gets the balance right when it comes to providing a positive employee experience. And not just because of the example shown below. Timpsons, a key-cutter and cobbler is still family run by James Timpson, who is following in his father’s footsteps of being a great boss!Timpson’s employees enjoy several benefits including use of staff holiday cottages and never having to work on their birthday.It’s also a company that takes social responsibility to another level by offering ex-offenders a chance to show they have reformed, with about 40% of their employees having served custodial sentences.One employee particularly will agree she has a great boss as when she asked to borrow his limo for her wedding day, he replied of course!
Being a great boss is not just about giving into every whim of your employees, in fact many times it’s about not bending to your employees every demand.Employee expect leadership and direction for the senior management team whether they are the business owners or not.And leadership is not the same as dictatorship.
Ask any entrepreneur who in their business cares about the company as much as they do and there will be a resoundingly consistent “no one!” that’s not to say that your employees don’t care, just recognises that they don’t have as much skin in the game as the owners so.So how do you maximise the passion within your workforce?
Being a good boss and a good leader starts with the four C’s – clarity, certainty, consistency and communication.
If your team are clear about what they are doing, where they are head and why a particular course of action is being followed they will be able to add more value by anticipating the needs of the business and working towards a common goal.Sharing the vision of where you want the business to be and why will help your team to buy into that future, giving them the opportunity to align their personal goals with the business.
Visible targets, shared between department and aligned with each employees own personal rewards will accelerate growth and profitability.It also removes the inefficiencies of departments or employees who end up working against each other because their remuneration mis-aligned with your own vision.
An example of this is paying commission on revenue generated without making sure that the sale is ultimately profitable.I have seen many a sales man leaving a trail of destruction behind him as he forges on generating sale after sale with such low margin and high customer service costs that the overheads consume any sliver of profitability in the deal.This result in cash flow challenges, higher debtors, poor financial performance and higher staff turnover in the whole business.
Whilst many an entrepreneur has a high tolerance for ambiguity and risk, most people do not. Employees work for a company because they like the certainty of a regular income or the lack of risk associated with business ownership. It’s worth reiterating the definition of certainty which is “the quality of being reliably true” or “a general air of confidence“. Confident employees will lead to happier employees which will always lead to improved customer confidence and happiness – which directly translates to increased sales and reputation.
Giving your team the visibility of your plans for the future allows they to understand and commit to the achievement of certain outcomes. It also helps them to understand and react when things go a little off course. This means they are more likely to stop and question any off-course activities and bring things back into line quicker or recognise when something is not working towards the long-term goals and respond accordingly.
Certainty also means letting your staff know that they are doing well so keep on doing it or, equally, where they are not doing what you need them to do, redirecting back to the activities that support the company’s goal most effectively. This feeds into consistency too.
Imagine if you woke every day and didn’t know for certain that the sun was going to rise? It’s hard to imagine but it is an example of how some business owners behave towards their businesses and their employees. If the team don’t seem consistent behavior from the leadership then they won’t be encouraged to perform that way too. This makes it very difficult to maintain standards or to scale your business – ultimately increasing the running costs of the business, giving poor customer service and unnecessarily reducing profitability.
What might seem obvious to you as the business owner might
not be so clear to your team, no matter how closely you think you are
working. Clear and frequent
communication is one of the easiest, quickest and most effective method of
unlocking the value in your employees.
Just tell them in simple straightforward terms what is expected of them
and more importantly what they can expect from you. Employment contracts are promises that cut
both ways and it’s not just about pay.
The employee promises to give you and the company their best efforts in
return for a salary and fair treatment.
Shining a light on your vision for the company future, the immediate
goals and how they are to be achieved and the rewards that will bring – such as
business growth leading to their personal development and job security – will
give additional direction to your team and allow them to keep one eye on the long-term
outcomes for the business and themselves whilst getting on with the day to day