Keep your people happy while your company is in rapid growth
Interviews / Opinions

Keep your people happy while your company is in rapid growth

There’s no feeling like the one when you see your vision realizing itself through hard work and management skills. But as your business starts growing, there is one group you shouldn’t forget to thank — your trusted employees. Navigating the complex interpersonal relations in the business world can be challenging. But they don’t have to be.

Think of it this way – your company’s growth is directly related to the professional growth of your employees. If your workers are content, motivated, and fulfilled, your business is likely to grow and develop as well. This is what corporate culture is all about. And as this culture determines a company’s environment, over time it instills a sense of security, loyalty and ownership.

Naturally, when a business starts expanding, employees may see some of the core processes change. This disruption and uncertainty can result in employees losing touch with management, where they fit into the company’s overall goals, or how they’re performing. As a result, their motivation and engagement may go down.

Up to this point employees have shown loyalty, dedication and commitment. But how do you know if they are happy with the changes that are transpiring? And, more importantly, how can you keep them that way?

Growth, for any business, marks a big transition. And even though it is seen as positive from the perspective of business owners and outsiders, employees don’t always feel the same way.

It’s easy for employees to start feeling unnoticed, unappreciated and insignificant when business owners start talking about ‘the bigger picture’. Plans for expansion, entry into new markets and increases in staff count are all drastic changes that require quick reactions and aligning of objectives from your existing employees.

But ‘the bigger picture’ is made of smaller pieces – your workers. And they need to continue feeling as the valuable part of the company that they are if you want to move forward. Even if you become bigger, you should always reinforce the importance of your teams so they have a clear feeling of ownership and goals.

Here are a few tips for keeping your loyal employees happy as your company grows.

Be Transparent

Understanding what motivates, scares and drives employees is key to keeping your company on track during its fast-paced growth period. In the hyper-competitive market that we’re in, the only way to survive is with a company culture that engages, grows, and defends its team.

Take the time to understand employee concerns and give them honest feedback. However, make sure you follow through with every promise you make to them as this is critical to retaining talent. Transparency works both ways, so you’ll need to be open and honest about your plans, goals and objectives from a management standpoint.

For example, many SMEs carry out engagement surveys with employees and disclose the results afterwards. This lets everyone know where your company excels and where it needs improvements. Transparent communication goes a long way as it shows you are not disconnected from the day-to-day reality of operations.

Recognize and Reward Employees

You got where you are now in part because your employees bought into your vision and worked hard to help you accomplish growth. Now is the time they need to be thanked the most. Don’t commit the cardinal sin of assuming they feel appreciated as it will cost you dearly.

Achievement and recognition remain the highest motivators for employees. Cash bonuses are always welcome, but personalized coupons to events and restaurants, an extra day off or something else along these lines can have an even better effect of motivating them. It’s the small stuff that adds up.

Promote a Positive Work Environment

You can’t have a successful company without happy employees. Working relationships are the lifeline of your business and within the office it doesn’t take much to make workers feel valued. Group lunches, reserved parking spaces, new skill-building courses and updated job titles are all ways to show employees they are part of a dynamic and positive work environment

Keep in mind that employees rarely quit solely due to money. However, it’s usually too late to mend a working relationship if they’ve become disenchanted with the way you run things. Having a positive culture and workplace environment encourages teamwork and increases engagement and opportunities for everyone involved.

Invest in Technology that Helps Your Company Evolve

Technology is the backbone of your company and as your business grows, it should grow with it.

Manual work that once took a few minutes may now take a couple of hours because of increased data volume and evolved processes. But unnecessary manual work is more than a waste of time – it can be damaging to work morale and cause your employees to feel like they’re in a rut.

Even SMEs benefit from automating payroll, and expense management software can do wonders for business efficiency. Giving your employees the added functionality they need to do their work faster will free their time to be creative, improve productivity, and increase profits.

Create a career pathway

With corporate expansion comes the added responsibility of career growth, meaning the assistance you provide to build your employees up. Hold regular career planning discussions with employees and make them aware of the different types of career paths or job opportunities in the company.

Don’t rely too much on salary raises as the only form of stimulus. Focus on people who share the operational values of your business from the outset, test for fit early, and allow growth opportunities to express those values. There are no better signs than initiative and constructive impact.

Managing rapid growth is a daunting task. It may be the Holy Grail for most businesses, but maintaining the corporate culture and keeping employees happy while it’s happening requires a deft touch.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to remaining true to your core values while embracing change and rewarding your best and brightest to make that fateful leap from business to brand.

The Link Between Employee Happiness and Growth

The correlation between happiness and productivity is pretty obvious, although it has been the topic of sufficient research over recent years. According to data from the Department of Economics at the University of Warwick – happy workers are 12% more productive than the average worker, and unhappy workers are 10% less productive.

In general, unhappy employees cost American businesses over $300 billion on an annual basis. What’s even more, employees who are actively engaged in their job also produce better results and are also more likely to solve complicated problems faster.

In other words, happy employees are the ones who are likely to stay with you through thick and thin as your company grows and changes. So it literally pays to care about your employees’ emotional wellbeing and get them engaged with the company beyond their paycheck.

Going that extra mile to ensure your workers are heard, understood and appreciated translates to them making the extra effort, with or without being asked, to ensure that the job is done and that the business succeeds.

One quick look at some of the most recognizable and successful brands shows a simple truth – employee engagement is about much more than making your staff happy; it’s what sets apart great companies from average ones.

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