Businesses succeed and fail for many reasons; even in isolated cases, it’s difficult to attribute the failure of a company on any one thing. Most of the time, it’s a lot of little things – tiny, almost imperceptible errors that accrete over time and, eventually, cause catastrophic events.
To say that much of these errors are committed by employees would be a gross overestimation, as well as too strong a generalization. But people do tend to underestimate just how much of an impact each employee makes – because their actions (or their inactions) are all part of the things that accumulate and result in the winning or the losing that your company will experience.
So perhaps it’s time to worry a little less about the macro elements of your business and consider things at a more atomic level. The more you develop your employees, the better your business will do – and I defy you to find any data that proves otherwise!
Identify the impact employees can make to your business
Look at your business goals. If you don’t have any business goals written down, then do that now. And don’t just write “MAKE LOTS OF MONEY”. Your company needs to produce a certain amount in a year. It needs to start saving money in particular areas. It wants to be the best in a particular field. All of these goals are things that each employee affects with their own work. Their productivity, knowledge, and quality of output are the weapons your company harnesses in order to achieve its goals.
Find out what skills are missing
So how precisely is each employee’s behavior helping you toward your goals? When you start looking at things in this manner, then you may start noticing some areas in which they could do better. In fact, you may realize that you need your employees to start looking into new skill areas.
Let’s say you need to be able to produce more of something in your manufacturing facility. Efficiency is the key, and how efficient your process is has a lot to do with the accumulation of your employees’ motivation and skills. So if you need new tasks to be introduced, as is becoming increasingly common in modern businesses, then you need to ensure your employees are trained properly. For example, if you need more work on plastics to be completed, then injection molding classes may be in order.
Goals and self-interest
Perhaps your employees need to feel more motivated. How much of a personal stake do they have in the company? Employees are all going to have their own goals and interests. The question you should be asking yourself is this: how can you make the interests of your employees and the interests of the company align?
Many business owners seem to take the approach that getting fired is against an employee’s self-interest, so an employee should simply aim to not get fired. But an employee’s self-interest is usually found in career advancement or, at the very least, more money. Which are good and fine goals that you should be helping them out with to the best of your ability! By giving employees opportunities to develop and, thus, fulfill their own quests, then you’ll get more out of them when it comes to productivity and output.
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