In this modern world where there is so much heartache due to the pandemic, business owners have to take on a newer type of responsibility. They must play a more active role in the care and progression of their employees. No longer, is just giving them a good healthcare plan enough.
No, now you must be able to show them that you care about their mental health, their professional growth, their understanding of management roles, being able to collaborate with others businesses and more especially, their clients that they work with on a daily basis. Helping employees has evolved into a totally different aspect of the professional workplace.
Business owners now have to become mentors, teachers, friends and even equals in some areas, to their employees. Here are some ways in which you can achieve this.
Working from home is going to become the norm for many professionals. Recent estimates show that in the future, about 10-20% of the workforce in modern nations, will be those that work from home. Remote working and working from home are the same things, but these titles have to be merged now. A remote worker was once seen as an extra or freelance role. Working from home is pretty much what we have all been doing since the pandemic. But in the future, millions of people will be doing their job from home, for most of the time. Some say it could be 3 days out of the 5-day working week; showing up in person, for meetings and presentations of reports etc.
So how can you be more flexible? Consider all the roles you have, and choose which of those could be done from home. More workers are saying they want flexible working hours, so jobs which don’t have to be done in the normal 9-to-5 should be considered for remote worker roles. Your admin teams could work from home, spotting problems and presenting solutions and doing research about improvements in internal systems, from their home office. Can you offer more flexible working hours and more remote working opportunities? Then be more flexible and offer it to your workers.
Working closely with clients
Employees work with clients very closely. More often than not, one or a group of people handle specific queries and calls, from clients. Whether they are investors, B2B clients or other, clients should be seen as opportunities for your employees to build relationships with. But don’t your employees already do that? Well, of course, they do; but not on the level that they could enjoy.
- Allow employees that have a good reputation and are mild-mannered, to have breakfast meetings with their client. If it helps to keep a client happy, informed and made to feel cared for, an employee that has struck up a relationship with that client can be offloaded to handle them personally. This is so valuable when you have a small team.
- Allow employees to build a client profile. This takes time but when you know a client inside and out, you can pinpoint the types of purchases they make, the things they like about you and the areas which they would like to see improvement.
- Employees that have built up a relationship with a client, shouldn’t be separated from them if possible. Too many companies are happy to break this link when a client is finally onboard. The person that got them to come on board should continue to keep them on your side.
Employees should be given the opportunity to progress in their chosen specialism. Many of your staff would like to stay as they are. They love their job and they may not see or want any need to progress into a chosen field. But many employees would love to start venturing into unique and often, complex disciplines. For example, an employee in your marketing department may want to learn more about social media marketing. A design employee might want to learn new software that could be used by your company in future. A financial employee might want to learn more about risk management, etc.
But how do you go about offering this? Your best bet is to work with industry experts that do this for a living. Various firms offer in-house employee training programs which can be implemented with their help. Or, they can show up to your place of work and train employees in person. They can also send your employees to visit their offices. CTC or corporate training companies offer courses in every area. Make contact with a CTC that operates in your industry to see what your options are.
Every company that wants to keep its employees happy, will not just have basic coverage, but great basic coverage. There is a difference! If you look at this affordable health insurance from TrueCoverage, you see how this is possible. Emergency services are covered, as well as prescription drugs. If your employees are hospitalized and or need lab tests to find out what is going on with them, this is a plan that covers all of it. They also have some pediatric services, such as dental and vision care. And of course, perhaps one of the most important services of mental health is offered too. This should not be understated in its importance.
If your employees have deeply hidden problems such as drug abuse and they need preventative or rehabilitation services, this plan also covers these areas. As you can see, a comprehensive basic coverage plan is well worth it. You’re not just taking care of your employees when something happens to them at work, but everyday life outside of work too.
Now that we’re working from home, we as business owners have found out how important regular communication is. We are using Zoom and other software for video calling online, but, it’s just not the same! In-person face to face conversations will never be replaced. This period of reflection should give you time to consider how you could improve the latter. You’d be surprised at how much employees would love it if you just talked to them more regularly.
- General chit chat. Yes, employees love it when their boss tries to talk about everyday things with them! There’s nothing sadder than a boss that tries to talk about last night’s football game and not actually knowing anything about it. So, don’t try to just start a conversation, want to start it!
- Speak to your employees about their ideas. Set aside some time in your meetings to just open the floor. This could be with managers or just, regular employees. Usually, your meetings will be limited to just management. However, you could ask managers to give your feedback from your wider workforce.
- Take the time to explain your reasoning behind decisions. You will be shocked at how understanding employees are when you explain why you made a tough decision that is negatively impacting them. Explain to them in person, why you want them to work longer hours. Maybe something went wrong during a project and now you have to catch up on lost time. Just be honest and talk to them, don’t give them a notice or late working days.
This is by certainly not the least bit of worry for most business owners. They don’t really worry about ‘rewards’ because they believe their paying a worker a salary is enough. Wrong, it’s not. Sure you will keep an employee satisfied, but you can’t buy loyalty with a salary for some of your most talented workers. They know that they could go to work for your competition for a higher salary if they are really that great. So rewards have to play a big part in keeping them on board and interested in staying for a long time.
- Recognize hard work. If an employee really hit it out of the park for a particular job or project, give them some kind of reward. Whether it’s an extra week off with paid leave or just a round of applause and recognition.
- Bonuses at the end of the year are always looked forward to. But, you could give your employees a bonus during the year too. If they have worked very hard, you could give them a financial bonus with their monthly salary payment.
- Give an employee something they could use in their normal life. A pair of boots, leather gloves, a gift card for a high-quality ham, turkey or duck, or maybe a gift voucher for a spa visit. Something of this nature that makes them feel special.
- Invite them to the executive office where they can meet the most senior-ranked C-suite roles. Giving them a moment to meet the top team and showing them that we’re watching and enjoying their success, is a real motivator.
Supporting your employees has become more complex, more involved and more crucial to keeping them happy and loyal. This pandemic has shown us that we should start to really fight for our workforce and cherish them like never before.