Employee engagement is a key to small business success

With so many hats to wear in a small business, and so few heads to put them on, making sure everyone on the team is committed to excellence is always necessary. But right now we have this thing hanging over our heads – economists call it a recession – and regardless of how it’s impacting your business, this is not a time for the human components of your small business machine to be less than finely tuned. Here are two important fine-tuning steps to take:

1) Make sure you’re employing people who are engaged in their work. In a good economy the negative impact of an unengaged employee is often masked or diluted by opportunity, and merely reduces organizational productivity. But in a recession, the drag of even one unengaged team member can be the difference between survival and, well, you know. Discover if you have an unengaged employee, redeem them if you can and get rid of them if you can’t.

2) Share your vision for how the business is going to address the challenges ahead. It’s not unreasonable for you to believe that your employees trust your leadership. But during unsettling times like these, a leader should reinforce the trust factor with some details.

In a team meeting (perhaps more than one) ask your team members to talk about their concerns about the economy. Ask them for suggestions on how the company can become more productive, effective and efficient. If you can, talk about your experiences in past downturns. Employees will like hearing that this isn’t their leader’s first rodeo. Explain what you’re doing to make sure the business will weather this storm, and talk specifically about what the company needs them to do.

Michael Stallard is an employee engagement expert and he joined me recently on my small business radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, to talk about this very important part of successful business management. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from one of the best. And of course, be sure to offer your own thoughts.

2 Responses to “Employee engagement is a key to small business success”

  1. 2
    Yvonne Gopher Says:

    Distancing yourself from the troops makes for poor leadership and ultimately poor performance of your business as a result of this kind of behaviour. A great machine has all its cogs in touch with each other, and spinning in perfect unison and harmony. Mushroom management is so last season, and not the way to deal with staff within the state of the current economy.

    Being open and frank about the bottom line of the company, as well as making sure that employees are feeling secure about their jobs is important. By highlighting the fact that times are tight, and that frugality is key to reducing overheads and ultimately helping to ensure the business remains afloat, is for starters a great idea. People taking ownership because they feel a personal responsibility towards making things happen for the common good of all is what you want to inspire.

  2. 1
    Michael Lee Stallard Says:

    Jim,

    It was nice to join you last week. Thanks for having me on your program.

    I’m convinced that most leaders don’t appreciate how important it is to stay connected with the people they lead. Like you said in your post, it’s important for a leader to say in some detail what’s on his mind and give employees an opportunity to share their opinions and ideas about what can be done to reduce expenses and increase revenues. Here is a link to a free downloadable eBook I wrote entitled “The Connection Culture: A New Source of Competitive Advantage” that will help leaders appreciate this essential aspect of successful leadership: http://www.changethis.com/44.06.ConnectionCulture

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