As companies grow, the everyone-pitches-in attitude among staff can dwindle. But that need not be the case. The spirit that first drove the company forward can be kept alive.
One company to have followed this strategy is travel deals publisher Travelzoo. It treats all employees as entrepreneurs and now boasts four million subscribers in Europe.
Here, UK managing director Joel Brandon-Bravo gives his tips on maximising input from all staff.
1. Hire the right people
Staff will be more engaged if they feel part of a team.
You don’t have to be everyone’s friend, but ask yourself ‘would I invite this person round for dinner?’; if the answer is no then I’d seriously consider not hiring them.
2. The company head must set an example from the start
This can’t be delegated. I tell new staff ‘never assume anything; if you see a fax sitting on the machine, don’t assume the recipient knows it’s there, pick it up and give it to them.’
3. Encourage personal and professional development
People will be more motivated if they feel their employer takes an active interest in them.
Our staff draft three personal objectives each year and share them so the whole company can support them in achieving their aims.
4. All feedback is good
Let staff know what they do well, so they continue with confidence. Suggest ideas to help them use their time and effort most efficiently.
5. Encourage cross-department collaboration
Make sure everyone understands every part of the business and the issues faced by others. For example, our sales team work on production to understand the process.
6. Steer the ship
Help staff understand their role and prioritise the myriad tasks they face to drive yuor company strategy to achieve meaningful results. Question why things are done a certain way.
7. Earn staff trust
Ensure you udnerstand every aspect of every role so you could do it yourself if need be. This encourages staff to do whatever is needed to deliver.
8. Encourage failure
If you don’t fail, you don’t learn. If people fail because they knew the facts and took calculated risks, reward them.
If people fail because they didn’t know their facts or don’t care, get them out of your business. Never make the same mistake twice and let everyone know that is just not acceptable.
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