Wednesday, 12 August 2015

WHAT DO YOU ABSOLUTELY NEED TO KNOW THAT ONLY YOUR EMPLOYEES CAN TELL YOU? OR HOW TO HELP YOUR COMPANY IN 3 EASY QUESTIONS

Every business has 2 parts: the 'official' one that the top people (owner, directors, stakeholders) experience and the 'secret' (common) part that only regular employees know about.

Top people don't call prospects and clients, they don't deal with office issues, they don't decide on new hires and interns. From what I saw during my career, they have a little bit detached and blurry vision of what exactly is going on in their own company. Because, of course, they deal with the big stuff, important things, everything that needs to be done – and that is great. That is amazing.

But if you are one of those bosses, you should remember to sometimes ask your employees a few things:

1. HOW ARE YOU?

This one is the easiest question to ask, and it is incredibly hard to get an honest answer to it. Maybe it is only a London thing, but people here tend to mumble an automatic “Yeah, good, yea, how 'bout you?' as they walk away.

What you really want to achieve with this questions is to show that you have a genuine interest in someone's life (and yes, if you are not really interested, it probably won't work that well for you). 

Your employees spend majority of their time outside work, but do you know anything about that part of their lives? Where do they live? What kind of movies are they into? The talk about engagement at work is big right now, but don't only talk about it - make it happen! Make your employees feel relaxed and welcome. In fact, go and talk to them right now! (And then come back to this post, because there is more where this came from.)

2. WHAT ANNOYS YOU?

You are looking at the most important question of them all (that no one ever asks). 

The alternative version of this question could go like this: If this was your company, what would you change first? Because let's face it, if it were you, you would start changes from the small things that you really hate and that you have to deal with every day. Every person working for you can see the good and the bad going on around them. The bad things may be huge (and it's your job to go and fix them) or tiny (it's also your job to fix those, but you will probably never find out that they are there in the first place) and the sooner you get rid of them, the better for everyone.

If people in your company have dedicated tasks and deal with their own thing every day, they will probably be the only one cursing about those small, annoying things that never work like they were supposed to. This may be a process that isn't yet optimized, online form that crashes when you submit it, printer that jams most of the time. Making sure that you ask about those inconveniences can save you a lot of time, money and stress in the future (when eventually the company gets bigger and the problem grows with it and potentially explodes in your face).

3. DO YOU HAVE EVERYTHING YOU NEED?

In other words: am I giving you enough resources to do your best? I know that you need to think about your budget and need to save some money this quarter...but even the best programmer will not do much with an old calculator. Ask around and see if you are saving on the right things, or if your budgeting keeps people working slower and forcing them to be less efficient. Sometimes extra things (even the small ones) can make a huge difference.

(And yes, this goes for things like courses, accreditation and conferences too! Be proactive and ask your people if there is anything that they would like to learn. They will definitely appreciate it.)

Ok, now you have 3 great questions to ask your employees. Go and try it now (and I will bring you some more when you finish with those)!

Have fun!

No comments:

Post a Comment