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Many of us Essex Business Forum (EBF) members are in the enviable [nerve jangling] position of being able to create our businesses from scratch. Starting small and thinking big; from idea to survival, and hopefully long-term growth.
Luck plays a part of course, but it is the balance of many factors that determine whether our small businesses grow in the way we hope.
One such factor is talent, otherwise known as workplace effectiveness, and it’s an area that’s captured my imagination of late. With one employee, several freelance team members, and a plan for growth, now seems the perfect time to lay strong workforce foundations.
So, what have I discovered?
Studies have shown that engaged employees – those who are devoted to their jobs and committed to the firm’s values – are significantly more productive, provide better customer service, and outperform those who are less engaged.
Generous salary doesn’t really factor, with studies showing that higher than average pay or hefty bonuses fail to offset dissatisfaction of underachievement.
The evidence is compelling; equipping employees with the tools to develop effective habits can lead to more effective performance, happier, more productive staff, and in turn, improve business results.
My take away from this is ‘work better – not harder’. So that’s my Attract & Engage Talent Plan.
I’m going to borrow from Google [who borrowed from US conglomerate 3M] and encourage my team spend time on projects of their own choosing.
Google encourages staff to spend 20 percent of their time on ‘passion projects’. Rather than distracting staff from directed projects, they’ve found that their staff work better on all tasks. Gmail, one of Google’s most popular products, is a result of the firm’s 20 percent time.
I’m going to do the same. Balancing billable client hours with the equivalent of one day per week over to this approach. Giving my team the time they need to work to their strengths and explore ideas within their areas of ownership and expertise.
I hope that by valuing effectiveness and performance over volume and presenteeism, we’ll build a dynamic culture, where people do the work they love, and continually improve the business. Heck, we might even find the A&E equivalent of Gmail!