So you have begun your own business- Congratulations!! But this isn’t the hardest part done, you now need to maintain and grow your company.
It will get to a point where you can’t do it alone anymore and in that will come the hiring of your first employees. It’s exciting, but never lose sight of how important the people factor is to your business success. From this point on it is not just your drive, determination and passion that will move you forward- it is your team and employees.
So what does that mean? You need to add Human Resources to your ever growing job description (along with boss, manager, accountant, advertising, marketing expert!) And your first call of business– build a work environment that is fair, professional and fosters education and learning; a company where employees are happy and motivated.
Creating this positive environment and good, strong working culture is really one of the most important factors to move your company forward. Not to mention that who wouldn’t desire to build a business where their employees feel valued, challenged/motivated, safe and happy.
Here are some HR Pointers to help guide you along:
In any social interaction or relationship communication is key and it is no different for your business.
Create an environment with open communication channels, but don’t forget to match this with structure. While it is great to have a relaxed young, modern workplace that doesn’t fit to traditional hierarchical structures, there does need to be professionalism with borders and boundaries that make company processes and expectations clear.
Some people will not feel comfortable with a totally lax approach were they grab you in the hall for anything they need to say. Overcome this be putting aside meeting times and regularly checking in with all people and then later teams as the company grows. Be flexible to adapt your approach to suit different individuals.
2. Workplace Culture.
Workplace Culture- the true foundation and bottom line to any successful business. Without a positive culture you will see things going downhill very quickly. Create an environment where people are safe, comfortable and happy. Following this will be their motivation, commitment and loyalty.
There are the usual modern office perks we are increasingly seeing: gym memberships, fresh fruit in the office, remote work, flexible working hours. These are awesome, easy things to put in place. But again the real strength in your foundations will come down to the basics: Care for your employees, ensure fairness and opportunities for growth, keep communication open so you are on the same page and know what your employees need. Following this though LISTEN and ACT. Do not hear their complaints or suggestions and ignore them because it is easier. Everything else up to this point will be a waste if your employees can’t trust you.
Motivation is a product of ones internal processes but you can’t expect everyone one to be as enthusiastic and as inspirational to themselves as Leslie Knope! You need to work at keeping your employees motivated. This does not need to be fully monetary either. Salary and payment are important of course, but studies have found that stronger motivators come from other factors such as the employee satisfaction, work substantiality– the meaning, importance & challenge their work provides them and of course the company working culture- no one is motivated to work hard for a place they don’t want to be!!
Secondly: Incentive and recognition. Acknowledge, recognise and reward high work performance and effort: both intrinsically and extrinsically.
4. Legislation and Employee/Employer Rights.
To build a credible & reputable business everything needs to be above board and done legally. Know the legislation that applies to you and your situation. This is a necessity. It may seem overwhelming: there is so much information and not always in the easiest language, but do not worry, it is not expected you learn it all off heart. But find the platforms that will provide you with accurate information- first step is to go to your governments website and they will usually have a link on their a site for workplace legislation and the applicable awards and statutes.
5. Ethical/Moral Responsibility.
You are legally bound to follow employment legislation as mentioned above. Another factor to consider is ethical responsibility. This is a choice not an obligation, but to do morally right by your employees, customers, environment and society is so important. For the obvious reasons but also for your company culture; it is an attractive feature and one which is becoming more heavily entrenched as an expectation as to how companies should behave. To not act in this way is to be lowering the bar of your company below your competitors and losing potential talent as they opt for the company that is known to be ethical. So do what is right, it will give nothing but benefits!