This is a guest post by Charlie Reynolds.
When you’re running a business, it’s easy to get into the mindset of thinking you are the business and your employees are there to do your bidding. But of course, on a day-to-day basis you’re really the person with their hand on the tiller, the person with whom the buck stops, the person who can influence things at a strategic level.
Company owners who forget that their staff absorb skills from the company, and put new skills back into it are doomed to underestimate their irreplaceability. Sure, no one is truly irreplaceable, but unless you recognize that the skills they have brought in are specific and part of the company’s ecosystem, you might not appreciate their value until it’s too late.
There are a few simple steps any employer can take to help keep the best talent on your side, however. And they’re not too difficult to achieve.
Know your Employees and Find Out Exactly What they Do
It’s easy to just let your employees “get on with it” and let the company trundle along. But actively getting an insight into what they are bringing to the company machine will help you to gauge their value.
Try to Recognize Employees’ True Value in Financial Terms
Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the skills your employees bring to the table, you can start to put a figure on it – and you might be surprised just how valuable that individual is. Imagine if she left – could you find someone to replace her? What would her replacement’s remuneration package look like?
Don’t Wait to be Asked for a Raise
Some employers see a request for a raise as a declaration of war – and employees know it. That’s why they will often seek something to fall back on before plucking up the courage to ask for a raise. And that speculative job search might just throw up a golden opportunity and an offer from a company that would really appreciate the experience the employer has gained (at your expense).
Perform pay reviews regularly, not just to match inflation but also to take into account the performance boost you get from your employees’ experience – and the cost of replacing them. Top performing sports stars don’t have undue allegiance to their current teams and neither will your top employees.
Treat them as Equals
If you’ve dragged your company from nothing to a healthy going concern, it’s a fair bet that you know what you’re doing. Give yourself a medal. But at least recognize that your employees might have an equivalent level of expertise in their own field, too. Good bosses always respect their employees, but the really good ones go the extra mile to show their appreciation.
If you hired a flying instructor to teach you to pilot a plane, you would absolutely bow to their experience, even though they’d technically be your employee. Treating employees as equals starts with recognizing that you each have different skills.
Include them at Early Stages of Plans
When you’re chasing a new client or pitching for a contract, is the job left solely to sales and the upper echelons of the company? And if you win it, are you inclined to drop the job on people who should probably already have known about it? It’s good practice to involve staff who will potentially be involved in a project at an early stage. Making them feel like a stakeholder and part of any success will give them a personal boost and help them to hit the ground running when the project starts – and make them feel more confident and likely to stick with you.
Listen to their Opinions
Nothing makes employees feel undervalued like feeling that their opinions and experience count for nothing when there are big decisions to be made. Chances are they’ll know much more about the inner workings of their jobs that you think they do – and they’ll certainly have ideas about how to make things better. Listen and learn.
Charlie Reynolds has over 10 years experience working in HR and been a writer for the past 12 years. Charlie now uses his field expertise as a copywriter for Skills Arena.