Make Your Business the Place to Work

You’re staring down the barrel of a recruitment crisis!

As a small business owner, it can be a real challenge to find the right staff, and keep them motivated and enthusiastic. The irony, of course, is that as a small business owner it’s far more important to you than to the big businesses that you’re able to recruit skilled, motivated and happy staff who turn up to work with a smile every day.

These are the people who’ll help your business stand out against your competitors and grow from strength to strength. These are the people who are going to make your life easier so that you can spend your time planning and strategising without having to micro-manage them.

While a few painfully dull interviews may lead us to believe otherwise, these candidates are out there. How do you find them? By making your business the place to work so that applicants are clambering over each other to join your team.

But how do you do that? Well, if it were easy, everyone would be doing it. But by adhering to these principles you can make your workplace a desirable and productive environment that attracts new staff and keeps your existing staff happy and on-point.

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Your environment

I don’t just mean recycling your waste paper (although that’s very important too), I mean making sure the environment is a productive and enjoyable one. There are many cultural and practical factors involved in doing this, but each is vitally important in ensuring that your workplace is as attractive as it is productive.

Ensuring that you use janitorial services to keep your environment clean and safe at all times is vitally important as cleanliness and tidiness are always conducive to productivity.

There are, however, many other factors that can make or break the effectiveness of your working environment.

  • The ambient temperature (33% of workers attribute the temperature of their workplace as a factor that contributes to their productivity).
  • Daylight and view (believe it or not a workplace with a view results in a 10-16% increase in productivity).
  • Background noise (30% of workers find background noise such as co-workers conversations distracting).

Candidates want to work in a comfortable environment where they have the tools and resources they need to do their job well readily at their disposal.

But that’s really just the tip of the iceberg.

Read: 6 Rules For A Happier and More Productive Workplace

Your culture

Your business culture and values will go great lengths to ensuring that you and your potential new recruits are ideologically compatible. A high-performance culture is essential in motivating staff and attracting candidates who are self-motivated and strive for excellence.

Valuing high performance doesn’t need to make you a slave driver, though. Show your employees that you value them as often as you can, rewarding achievement and reinforcing positive attitudes.

You shouldn’t be afraid of distractions. Indeed, you should embrace them. Make sure staff have opportunities to take a break from long or difficult tasks. Ensure that all staff have a work-life balance and the means to manage their personal commitments. Allowing some members of staff to work from home, or providing flexi-time allowance are great ways to do this

You should also ensure that your staff have access to exercise facilities, even if it’s just an after work running club, to show that you value their physical well being and give the energy of the place a boost.

Employees aren’t robots and will often come to work with some emotional baggage on their shoulder. No matter how dedicated they may be, some tears are bound to slip out sooner or later and it’s vital to create a culture that’s supportive of emotional wellness.

As well as creating an environment where employees can do their jobs well, the best employers are supportive and encouraging when it comes to upskilling and professional development. Make sure all employees have access to the means to learn, improve and progress in their career (even if that means you eventually have to let them fly the nest).

Your USP (unique selling proposition)

You know your business better than anyone and so you’re ideally placed to let prospective candidates know why your business is the right place for them. Make sure they know all about your strengths, your accomplishments and the things that make your business unique.

Your values should be an intrinsic part of your brand identity and you should lead by example by living and breathing them in your workplace, but establishing these to people outside of your workforce could be more challenging.

Why not put this into the wider world with your own content? Social media posts, blogs, and YouTube videos are a great way of establishing your identity to the world at large and making your appeal clear to prospective candidates.

6 Rules For A Happier and More Productive Workplace

Encouraging a positive working culture is one of those things which can take a lot of practice. There is usually plenty of trial and error involved before you see the results you want. Nonetheless, there are some basic rules which can help you to forge a more positive working culture in no time at all. Many of these rules are easy to live by; others less so. But they are all necessary if you want to improve your business from the ground up. No matter the size of your business, following these rules is likely to help hugely. Let’s take a look at how to make your workplace more productive today.

Put Wellbeing First

Many businesses, particularly larger ones, fail to properly look after their employees’ wellbeing. But the truth is, taking care of the people in this basic way must be the first step. Without this, there is little chance that the rest will properly fall into place. But how can you expect to help your employees take care of themselves? In part, it is a matter of ensuring that nobody is overworked. This makes a huge difference alone, as overworking leads to increased stress and a higher likelihood of contracting a disease. It also means actively encouraging people to take breaks. If you can help it, don’t let people sit at their desks during their break. They need to be able to stretch their legs and actually get away from the office for a while. This really does make a huge difference. When you make the health of your employees a priority, you are setting a precedent which is going to pay off in the long run.

Know What To Do In An Emergency

No matter how careful you are, there is always the chance that something will go wrong in your workplace. Emergencies happen all the time, and there is only a certain amount you can do to avoid them. The most important thing is to ensure that you have a clear plan in place for if the worst does happen. Again, your priorities here should be the wellbeing of your employees. When a serious incident occurs at work, it can be surprising what an effect it can have on your employees psychologically. Having a critical incident stress management plan in place can help a great deal.

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Don’t Be Afraid Of Communication

What really keeps things alive in a business is the communication between colleagues. When a workplace suffers from a lack of communication, it really shows in the quality of the work. Conversely, one which encourages open and honest communication is likely to be one which brings out the best in people. The best way that you can bring about this change in your workplace is by embodying it as fully as you can yourself. You will soon find that your employees start following your example, and this will lead to a more open and communicative working culture.

Focus On Employee Development

Plenty is lost when a business stops thinking about the individual as an individual. On the other hand, your business is likely to go far if you actively embrace each employee’s independent development. Doing so is also likely to be a plus for the business itself. After all, the more developed the employees are, the better the quality of work is bound to be. Work hard to ensure that your employees are allowed to develop as fully as possible. If necessary, allow regular training days if you think it will help them develop.

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Show That You Trust

The more responsibility you place in the hands of your employees, the more capable they will feel in their role. This will then result in more trust on your part – and so a virtuous cycle is created. If you are worried about giving people too much responsibility in the early days, then start small and slowly build it up. This way, you can be sure that you are not rushing anyone into anything they can’t handle.

Be Flexible and Generous

People are likely to appreciate their work much more if you allow the job to work around them a little more. It is always a sound idea to be as generous as you can with things like holiday and sick pay. This doesn’t mean going over the top with it – nobody will respect you then. However, if you err on the side of generosity, it is likely to pay off in the long run. By the same token, try to be as flexible as you can around what kind of hours people work. You could even allow certain roles to work from home.

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Join the Live Debate via Virgin Disruptors on ‘Your Workplace Wellbeing: at What Cost?’

With moderator Emily Chang, the San Francisco-based anchor of Bloomberg West, this year’s panelists include:

  • Richard Branson (Virgin Group founder)
  • Tony Hsieh (Zappos CEO and founder)
  • Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook COO)
  • Arianna Huffington (The Huffington Post CEO)
  • Jackie Reses (Yahoo CDO)
  • Jim Clifton (Gallup CEO)

Read my guest blog on featured as part of their workplace wellbeing series

It’s already kicked off, but it’s not too late to join the LIVE* discussion/debate now by clicking the image below:

Virgin disruptors 2

*In case you missed it, you can still watch the discussion/debate.