So. You have really decided that it’s time to get employees to help grow your business. While your biz has previously been easy and flexible, now you find yourself having a team of other people looking up to you as the owner and also as employee No. 1. You have to keep them motivated and rearing to go. It’s even better if you really can make your biz their dream job. How so?
Congratulations, you now have an employee(s). You had better show them the way. Any case, it’s your vision they are working on. You have to set the tempo. Do you want them to respect work, Keep time, value customers, cut costs, aspire for perfection, collaborate more and keep eyes on the long term? Then show them. But you don’t want to be the one buying guzzlers on the sweat of poorly paid employees. You don’t want to imagine you can divert business income and not tempt them to do the same. Now you may not be a born leader. Not even a good manager. However, there exists many possibilities for you to upskill. Read books and watch relevant videos. Get a mentor and a coach to help. Build good systems and employ the right kind of leaders. Nothing will frustrate your biz more than putting your temperamental and erratic wife or kids in charge of something they barely know enough about. Also, give your employees responsibility and sufficient empowerment. They can also think. Take suggestions. Encourage failure and learning too. Lead in building the culture you want your biz to be known for.
- Work Environment
As an entrepreneur you will have to take responsibility for the environment in which your people work. Is it spacious enough? Is it well-lit and ventilated? Is there the necessary work equipment? Is it safe enough? Some jobs require safety clothing, simple things like face masks, helmets, gloves etc. Some entrepreneurs however want to cut costs by avoiding to provide safety clothing. It’s just not fair. These employees are working too hard for you under sometimes very risky situations. It’s a shame there are mjengo guys who still have to carry those blocks on their shoulders up the high-rise building and do koroga on bare hands and feet. I have seen places where employees have to use dilapidated desks and chairs and broken down machines. Ensure they are not hungry by providing at least office tea. If your premises is in difficult places see to it they get transportation. As an entrepreneur you’ve got to take responsibility and do the best you can to provide a better environment for your employees. Invest in the work environment and see the productivity increase many fold.
- Work Planning
Depending on the type of your business, it might be possible to plan and schedule your work so that you get the best of your employees. Is it possible to have flexi plans? Some jobs really don’t have to be done from 8-5. Do you have shifts? Do you have possibilities to do part time? Overtimes? Off-days, leave days, sick and compassionate offs? Etc? The whole idea should be to find a balance between getting the best productivity from your employees and keeping key operations running. When companies find themselves facing difficulties, some have opted to negotiate with employees for reduced working time instead of redundancies and job losses. How much are your employees involved in planning work
- Learning and Improvement
Did you know, your business is always going to be different from the other even If you do the same thing? You have different processes and most importantly different cultures in your organization. Do you conduct extensive induction training for your new employees? You might want to consider that the person you employed may not be as good as they convinced you. Do you help them with some sort of training on technical aspects to stay on top of the game? How about soft issues like customer service? There are easy options to upskill your employees. You could buy them relevant books (cheap), Relevant DVDs (Cheap), have experts come to train them onsite (fairly cheap) or arrange to have your employees go for training off site either in seminars for short courses or colleges (fairly expensive). Knowledge is dynamic and to stay on top of your game you must make sure your team has the right skills. Otherwise, they will lag behind and drag the business behind. They will do business as usual, lack in innovation and probably miss opportunities in the market or drive costs high not to mention even lose your customers.
- Pay and Extras
The issue of pay is very important to your employees. While to you what you spent on them might just be money, to them it is family income. It’s what pays rent, buys food, pays school fees, supports parents etc. While it is very important to ensure you pay for value. Don’t always be happy underpaying your employees. They know you underpay them and they ensure they give you the bare minimum. You don’t want that. You want guys who leave it all there. If you don’t reward them appropriately they will spent so much time looking for other jobs or on other side hustles which will take away effort from your business. Sometimes losing good employees can also be a death sentence to your business. How about overtime pay? How about bonuses? Recognition? Share and options issues? Yeah! As you plan to go to Seychelles to celebrate your success just remember they played a big role in it. Have a plan. Just make sure it is sustainable.
- Social Security
The law in Kenya is very explicit on the minimum social security you must guarantee your employees. Some comes in form of check off deductions from their salary which you must ensure is paid up. NHIF is a good place to start with to ensure a basic health insurance covering the employees and their immediate dependents. NSSF ensures they save up some pension for the days ahead. Those two are important but if your company also starts making more money invest part of it in the people who really help make the money. Private insurance packages, private pension packages, loans and advances etc. An employee whose mind is settled is a much better asset than one with a sick kid at home they can’t take to hospital
It is possible to attract the right kind of employees for your business and keep them super charged with motivation at some very minimal costs. If you would like a little help with designing an employee motivation strategy do not hesitate to get in touch.
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