POTTSTOWN PA – One of the first and most important lessons an entrepreneur learns is that employees really are a small business’s most important resource. In fact, a business literally cannot succeed with out them, according to experts at the Pottstown chapter of the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE).
Employees’ talents, skills, and efforts add value to products or services, allowing owners and managers to focus on planning and creative issues that will move a business forward.
Unlike equipment, computers, and other resources, however, the boss can’t simply turn employees on and off for business hours. All employees need a clear understanding of their role in a business and how it can grow, plus the motivation to achieve – and, even better – exceed those expectations.
That’s why all business owners also hold the title of “Chief Communicator and Motivator,” and often rely on these tips:
- Talk straight. It’s important to have direct contact to make messages clear to workers. Some owners try to save time and manage by e-mail; that works only to a point. Direct contact builds trust and rapport.
- Repetition pays. Establish a business “mantra” and keep repeating it. Don’t assume that everyone involved in a business understands and buys into the mission like the boss. They haven’t lived and breathed every detail, like the owner has.
- Solicit response. Here’s a simple step to ensure managers communicate clearly. Instead of asking if an employee understood instructions, ask what specific steps the person will take to complete the task. That way supervisors can be absolutely certain they not only understood, but also plan to complete the assignment in an appropriate way.
- Avoid constant criticism. That hurts morale and can make people less motivated. When supervisors highlight the positive and correct mistakes without getting personal, employees are more likely to deliver what they want.
- Be seen. A good supervisor is visible, but it’s important to not appear as a micromanager. A quick chat about work and non-work issues during a stroll through the business is all the positive reinforcement most employees need. They’ll feel more comfortable about coming to the boss with questions, concerns, or suggestions. Augment the informality with individual and group meetings.
To learn more about human resources issues facing small businesses, call the Pottstown chapter of SCORE at 610-327-2673. It’s a non-profit organization of volunteer business counselors who provide free, confidential assistance and training workshops to small business owners.