Do You Have a Reciprocal Relationship with Your Staff?

The best relationships in life are reciprocal – and that counts for the workplace as well. When you help your employees to achieve their dreams, they in turn help you to achieve yours.

In the last few years, businesses have been put through the wringer, and on top of that, we’ve seen a worldwide trend of employees quitting their jobs in droves. Last year, the HR software company, Employment Hero, conducted a survey in which 48% of employees in New Zealand indicated that they’re planning to change jobs in the next year. It is crucial, more than ever, to make sure you retain your best employees.

 

How Can You Support Your Employees?

There are many ways you can support your employees, but here are a few tips to get you going:

  • A comfortable workspace: Whether it’s a comfortable chair, the right tools to do the job, a clean break room, or support when they need to work from home, a comfortable workspace will make your employees feel supported and increase their productivity.
  • Acknowledgements and rewards: It’s certainly not coming as a shock – everybody loves being recognised for their hard work and achievements. People need to feel that they have a purpose, and when they’re being acknowledged for their good work, your staff will feel like they’re living up to that purpose.
  • Open and honest communication: Your employees want to know where they stand with you. They want to know what is expected of them, and whether they’re meeting those requirements. They also want to feel comfortable being able to say what they think and share their ideas.
  • Growth opportunities: Whether it is getting better at their jobs, or having the opportunity to climb the ladder, your staff wants to be able to develop and grow their skills. Without the possibility of growth, they’ll soon become disconnected and bored with their work.

And thanks to Covid…

  • Support when sick or having to self-isolate: With Omicron in the community, we’re going to see a lot more self-isolation needed in the next couple of months. For staff that can work from home while they’re isolating, helping them to set up their remote workspace and calling every so often to check in with them would go a long way in solidifying their commitment to their work.

Of course, as an employer, the financial burden on you can be quite significant if a bunch of your employees need to self-isolate, especially if they can’t work from home. To help with that, the government has introduced a leave support scheme. Additionally, they’ve introduced another financial support scheme for businesses struggling because of Omicron. Check out this article for more details.

How Strong Is Your Relationship with Your Team?

It can be a challenge to stay competitive in today’s job market. Maybe your star employees are quitting in search of greener pastures, and you don’t know what to do about it. Well, that may be a sign that your organisation is lacking one of these supporting elements. It may be a good time to give these ideas a chance, and chat to your employees to hear what other ideas they have. Together, you can build a stronger, open, and more reciprocal relationship with each other.

The Art of Asking the Right Questions

Your team is only as strong as the questions you ask 

If you’ve ever been in charge of training people, you may have had moments where you get frustrated with the pace people are learning at, or that you often have to repeat yourself. 

Maybe these thoughts sound familiar… 

“They don’t listen”

“I’ve told them that already”

“Why can’t they just do what they’re supposed to and stop interrupting me?” 

Have you ever thought that the problem doesn’t lie with those you’re trying to teach, but rather with your teaching method? Maybe you’re not telling them the right way. And by telling, we mean asking the right way.

 

Asking Your Team the Right Questions 

A big mistake we often make when we train new staff, is to just tell them what to do. Sure, if you don’t tell them what to do, how would they know how to do their job, right? And for the first few days, that’s exactly what you need to do. But there comes a time where you have to switch your approach from telling to asking. 

Let’s look at a few examples.

 

How do you understand your role/this process? 

You’d be surprised how often you may think someone is on the same page as you, while they’re actually in a completely different book. When you ask them to repeat the process back to you, you can easily spot the holes and correct them – and avoid unnecessary misunderstandings.

 

How do you think you should do this? 

This question is a great way to cement what you’ve taught them, especially if they’ve asked you the same question before. If you just repeat what you said previously, instead of asking them to explain it to you, you’re going to have to answer the same question a few more times. Talk about frustration overload! 

This is especially good for more technical questions. To give you a few examples of where we use this tactic at BWMD, is when we get questions like this: “I have a client query and I don’t know how to solve it”; “I’m not sure how to record this transaction”; or “How should I treat this for tax purposes?”

 

Why do you think we do it this way? 

This is a very powerful question to ask if you want the person to think a bit deeper and really understand what they’re doing. It’s also good for those instances where there isn’t a black and white answer. Not only will they grow in their knowledge and confidence, but they may also come up with ideas and solutions that you haven’t thought of before.

 

Getting into the Habit of Asking Questions 

Asking instead of telling doesn’t come naturally to everybody. It’s like a muscle you need to train, and the more you ask questions, the better you’ll get at it. 

You’ll also be pleasantly surprised when you see people learn quicker and retain what they’ve learned. They’ll also become better teachers themselves. Seeing how people grow is one of the most satisfying experiences any manager can have. 

So, next time someone asks you to explain something to you, answer their question with a question.

     

    Rockstars vs. Superstars: Get the Right Bums in the Right Seats

    We’ve learned a few things this past year:

    • No matter how well thought out your plans are, you can never account for everything life throws at you – who would have thought at the start of 2020 that the world would be turned upside-down by covid-craziness?
    • We’re more resilient than what we thought we were. Despite the craziness, we’ve survived – some even thrived – and we’re stronger than ever before.
    • It’s vital to have the right bums in the right seats in your business. With the right team, you can adjust and come up with new ideas quickly when things don’t go according to plan, while still maintaining quality.

    But how do you choose the right bums?

     

    Rockstars vs. Superstars

    There are two types of employees you want on your team: Rockstars, and Superstars.

    Your superstars are the ambitious, growth-seekers. They’re the ones that want to be in leadership positions, who will push the envelope, and come up with innovative ideas.

    On the other hand, your rockstars want to pretty much stay where they are, but become better at it. They want to perfect their craft and be the best they could possibly be in their role. They love stability.

    We often try to turn rockstars into superstars, but that’s a recipe for failure. How many times have you promoted someone just because they’re dependable and excellent at what they do, without considering whether the promotion is actually what they want?

    In Radical Candor, author Kim Scott describes these two types of employees as follows:

    “Rockstars are solid as a rock. Think the Rock of Gibraltar, not Bruce Springsteen. The rockstars love their work. They have found their groove. They don’t want the next job if it will take them away from their craft. Not all artists want to own a gallery; in fact, most don’t. If you honour and reward the rockstars, they’ll become the people you most rely on. If you promote them into roles they don’t want or aren’t suited for, however, you’ll lose them — or, even worse, wind up firing them.

    Superstars, on the other hand, need to be challenged and given new opportunities to grow constantly.”

    Putting the Right Bums in the Right Seats

    Being the one or the other isn’t good or bad. It just is. We need to respect what others want out of their lives. Most importantly, we need both in our businesses and we need to learn how to use their strengths and ambitions to the betterment of the firm. You need the people who would go deep, who’d produce the same quality over and over again, and who you know you can count on. You also need the people who would lead and inspire and innovate.

    So, when you do your planning for next year, do a deep dive into your team:

    1. Identify your rockstars and your superstars. And yes, they may not all be stars yet, but that brings us to the next point.
    2. Determine what you need to do to help each person to develop into their chosen stardom. Maybe you need to restructure your team, send people on training, or assign mentors to juniors.

    Your team doesn’t always have to be full-time employees. For smaller or unique functions, consider hiring a contractor or professional to help. For instance, if you have a small business,  instead of hiring an expensive CFO, think about hiring us to fulfil that function for you. It’s always good to have someone from the outside to listen to your challenges and give you unbiased advice. 

    A Case for a Family-Based Approach to Your Team

    Some of the most successful small and medium-sized businesses treat their team members like valued family members. While many business gurus would argue that this may be bad for business, there’s something to be said for a family-based approach.

     

    Benefits of a Family-Based Approach 

    Let’s look at why this approach may be a good idea for you. 

    1. Higher work satisfaction = better productivity: According to Gallup, people with a best friend at work are seven times more likely to be fully engaged in their work. Your staff spends an average of 40 hours on the job each week and sees their colleagues more than their own family. We all crave human interaction, and when we have great relationships at work, we not only enjoy our work, but we’re also more productive and the quality of our work shoots up.

    2. A great culture attracts great talent: For many, it’s not just about the money. Talented people often take lower-paying jobs if they could work in the right environment. Small and medium-sized businesses can’t always compete with big corporations when it comes to salaries; to attract the best, your culture needs to be the best.

    3. Turnover is expensive: Every time an employee leaves, you lose money. Think about training new employees, delays, lost productivity, etc. People who are happy at work are less likely to leave.

     

    How Do You Create a Family-Based Team Culture? 

    Every family is different, and of course, not every type of family culture would work in the business. An absent parent (or boss) whose only form of communication is shouting when something’s not going according to plan, is not exactly a great recipe for success. 

    So, which traits would create a great family culture at work?

     

    Open Communication 

    If your team believes they’re in the know, they’ll feel valued and they’d be willing to walk through fires for you (don’t let them do it, though!). 

    Don’t be afraid to share bad news, either. If the business is going through a tough time – very common now thanks to the pandemic – there’s no reason to try and hide it. News flash: they already know things aren’t going too great. You don’t need to share every little detail, but if you take them into your confidence, they’ll do everything they can to help you, the company, and the rest of the team through hard times.

     

    Invest in Their Growth 

    When we invest in the personal and professional development of the team, we see them make increasingly better contributions to the success of the business. 

    The more you invest in them, the more they’ll come up with fresh ideas and perspectives.

     

    Family Time a.k.a. Team Building 

    Many people are exhausted right now. We’ve had a few hard months behind us, and maybe more to come, and many people are concerned about the future. Your team may be frustrated with things they can’t get done or work they’ve done pre-covid that may seem gone to waste. Whatever the case, everybody needs a break away from the job – either as a team-building exercise or a few days off. 

    A couple of months ago we took the team to the Fear Factory, where everybody could scream their frustrations out. Like the saying (which we’ve totally made up) says: “A team that screams together, stays together.”

     

    Is a Family-Based Team Approach for You? 

    You may not want your team to call you ‘Mum’ or ‘Dad’, but making a few tweaks to the way you treat your team may just create the culture you need for your business to thrive.  

    Do you think it’s a good idea to treat your team like family? What else are you doing to create the right culture?