A business communication white paper on who holds the pen in SMEs?
Let’s take a guess; some questions are presently running through your mind; you are trying to marry business to a pen, strategy rather than communication. We promise you that, as always, this article is easy to understand, fun, enlightening, motivating, and informing.
Take your mind back to your most recent management meeting, seated with a pen in your hand. You jotted some ideas on how to grow your business, and you could not wait to execute them. The ‘simple’ strategies you highlighted with the pen were your plans for developing your business.
Going by this illustration, you conclude with an assurance that your business plans would guarantee you success, thanks to your business skills and knowledge but, you need to sit back and ask yourself if you are the authority who holds the pen. Now, the cell is the instrument you use to take notes and plan for the growth of your business, but the identity of the authority with the pen is your employees, not you, the employer.
Oxford defines an employee
as “a person employed for wages or salary, especially at a non-executive level.” An employer, on the other hand, is “a person or organization that employs people.”
Over the years, there have been some reports of abuse in the workspace by employees. Take, for instance, research shows that 72% of bullies outrank their victims. A “significant number of people exposed to persistent workplace bullying, with a majority of studies reporting 10 to 15% prevalence in Europe and North America.” “Workplace bullying is a persistent pattern of mistreatment from others in the workplace that causes either physical or emotional harm.” It could be verbal, nonverbal, psychological, or physical abuse. (Ramsay)
Why employee relations through (Communication)?
When talent hunting, you scout for professionals who can deliver maximum results with little or no supervision, but most business owners fail to realize that you indirectly handed your business operations to be overseen by your employees upon employment.
As an employer, you cannot oversee the whole business activity of your company. Hence, you employ professionals in diverse, relevant fields who would strategically study and administer business engagements that would boost the sales and growth of your business. But, if the employees are applicable in the decision-making of your business, don’t you think they hold the pen to either make or mar your business?
Given the role operators play in business growth, good employee relations must be a lifestyle for any business that wants to succeed in the market; Sir Richard Branson puts it this way, “If staff are happy, the customer will follow.” The following steps will empower you with the style to keep your company culture alive and employees active and engaging.
Engaging Employee Relations (Communication):
Obtaining the best results from employees cannot be gotten with tight fists or in toxic environments. Instead, as an employer, you must identify ways of communicating with persons and not their positions (as staff). Highlighted below are some employee relations skills every employer must possess:
To enjoy good communication and interaction with employees, you must be a friendly person (or at least learn to be). Everyone needs a familiar face and atmosphere now and then, and your employees too. As an employer or management, you must possess a friendly aura that gets your staff comfortable discussing with you.
The fear of most employers in this regard is the overfamiliarity of employees. A friendly environment in organizations should give no room for disrespect or laziness. Instead, it must birth better communication with everyone within the organization, resulting in to increase in sales and profit.
Encouragement and passion:
One thing is sure in business -no one is above mistakes. So, as an employer, when employees fail to meet expectations, avoid using hurtful and demeaning words to ‘correct’ them instead; remember we all learn from mistakes and correct with understanding and empathy. Over time, who will not avert such errors, and employees will learn respect, skills, and professionalism from you.
Good employee relations create an avenue for you as an employer to interact and study employees’ performances and identify their strengths and weaknesses. You determine which employee is most skilful and in which area(s). Upon placing star contributors in every department, celebrate them by sponsoring their trips to any location of your choosing. You could also give awards to outstanding staff, appreciating their support for the growth of the business.
Be open to feedback:
“I am a firm believer in listening to your staff at all times. The moment you stop doing this, you are in danger of losing your best people” (Richard Branson). As a business, be open to the praises and criticisms of people, especially your employees, because it is from this gathering, you quickly identify your SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threats). Whenever you have the opportunity, personally chat with your employees, and ask for their perceptions about you and the business; take jottings of their feedback, reflect on them and improve in areas with lapses. Remember, “people out on the frontlines know when things are not going right. If you listen to them, you can soon improve all those negative things.” (Richard Branson)
You are not an employer because you own a business, neither are you one because you pay your staff; you are an employer if you lead. A leader is a risk-taker who makes the first move. To enjoy good employee relations, you must be a leader who leads by example and not by instructions. As a leader, you must identify whom you are teaching, why you are showing them, the skills you need to acquire for smooth leading, and the best communication strategies. If you desire the best from your staff, ensure you motivate them first with your accomplishments.
Offer flexible working schedules:
If nothing, the COVID-19 outbreak taught businesses that a company is not the building but the people; hence, you can work remotely. As an employer, be flexible enough to permit your staff to work remotely. Remote work gives in no way gives room for relaxation on their parts, but it gives them satisfaction to work from the comfort of their homes. This condition also plays a positive role in the business because It would cut down some expenses.
Bring fun to business:
As an employer, you want to make your business work and fun for your employees, stimulating them to work and have fun. You can introduce relaxation spots for employees to play basketball, foosball, ping-pong, and any exciting activity of your choosing. Add fun to your business and make them happy to work every morning.
Make room for their kids:
It is no news that some of your employees have kids and have difficulty leaving them in the care of someone else. Therefore, create a space in your office conducive for kids, with toys and other facilities to accommodate them; hence, you would be eliminating worry and fear in the parents’ minds, giving them peace of mind and good concentration on their work.
Relating with employees as your first public goes a long way because they are the authority holding the pen, and your relationship with them could either make or mar your business. So, treat your employees better and be sure of their commitment to the growth of your business.
If you found this article on employee relationships relevant enough, you might want to check out our white paper on digital marketing mix channels. Business communication white pepper