The Key to Succeeding in Business: Your Staff

employee motivation
Motivated employees lead to business success

The days of slave labour are long gone – even if it sometimes doesn’t feel like it when you’re working for someone and the deadlines are looming.  Even in the current economic climate, if someone doesn’t like your company, or is unhappy in their job, they have options.  If they do a bad job, the worst you can do is fire them.  If they’re deeply unhappy, they can seek work elsewhere.  If you want to succeed, you have to have your employees on your side.

A Business is More than Just Assets and Tech

When you’re first getting started, it’s easy to get so absorbed in the mechanical parts of the business that you don’t think about your employees.  However, a business is more than just its ecommerce solutions and server implementation.  Once you have the technology set up, and some employees ready and willing to run it, you should start thinking about how you will keep those people happy.

The Benefits of a Happy Staff

The benefits of happy employees are quite clear to see.  If you’ve ever shopped at Waitrose, you will have noticed that the staff working there are almost invariably polite, helpful, well groomed, well spoken, and attentive.  Compare that to your average lower end supermarket, where they are harried at best, and sullen at worst, and the benefit to the customer is obvious.

Happy employees tend to do a better job.  They are more productive, less likely to take time off sick, and more likely to put in a little extra effort if they believe in what they are doing.  They’re also less likely to look for a different job.  If their life circumstances change, then instead of jumping ship they’ll approach their supervisor and ask about changing shifts, taking a short leave of absence, or otherwise working with the company.  That kind of personal investment is important – especially if you’re in a business that relies on knowledge workers. 

Just think of the amount of time (and money) you had to spend training people in how to manage your ecommerce solutions. Can you afford to go through that investment again every few months to replace people who leave your company because the bonuses look nicer elsewhere?

Money Won’t Buy Happiness

You don’t have to spend a lot of money on staff bonuses to make people happy.  A lot of the time, what separates companies with devoted, happy workers from ones where people trudge in grudgingly because they need the money are the basics.  Treat your employees with respect.  Congratulate them on a job well done, and have a clear but fair disciplinary procedure.  If someone makes a mistake, don’t immediately punish them – ask them what you can do to help them make sure it won’t happen again.

If someone is frequently late for work – don’t assume it’s laziness.  Ask them if it would be easier for them to get in on time if they swapped shifts with someone who starts a little later in the day. It doesn’t cost money to work with employees on issues like that.

When it comes to training, don’t pour it all into proprietary systems and old ecommerce solutions.  Offer training in other skills too – improving someone’s career prospects will improve their self-esteem, and doesn’t guarantee they’ll rush to use those skills elsewhere.

About the Author: Article written by Amy Fowler on behalf of Hallmark Consumer Services, ecommerce solutions experts.