Over the years, smart business people who are responsible for running organizations have revised their focus from making money to building well respected, socially responsible, culturally rich places to work. Bottom-line profit will always be important but how you achieve your financial reward is looked at differently in an age where the perception of the masses drives reputation in the marketplace.
These trend setters navigate their organizations using practices that promote a healthy environment for everyone involved: customers, employees, vendors and the community at large. But what ‘healthy habits’ provide the best return without breaking the organizations piggy bank or steering the business off track?
The best healthy habits to adopt are ones that give your stakeholders a reason to interact with you on a higher more committed level. Here are 5 habits of a healthy business that will increase your employee’s performance, your customer’s loyalty, and the affections of the community you operate in.
(1) Enhance Communications:
Today’s employees want full transparency. They want to be able to express themselves and they want to know how they are doing. Adopting a communication system that emphasizes feedback will achieve this goal. Once you establish some boundaries about how feedback is given and received, set the tone by meeting with your team and asking them for feedback. In addition to opening the lines of communication, you will be surprised at what you learn.
Don’t worry if everyone isn’t on-board immediately. A major course correction like this takes time for people to trust in your new intentions. Just keep putting it out there until they understand that this is the new standard for providing feedback. To get into the habits of a healthy business, there may be some resistance at first.
(2) Upgrade Your Technology:
At first, this seems expensive. After all, new systems can run hundreds of thousands of dollars from purchase and installation to training and maintenance. Not so! Begin by surveying your departments to find out what needs to be fixed or could provide huge operating efficiencies if upgraded a little.
You’d be surprised at the small things you can do to greatly enhance everyone’s workflow. Areas which typically can benefit from this sort of fine-tuning are email, order processing, phone systems, and CRMs. These are areas that tend to connect everyone at some point and when they don’t work, add to more manual efforts and levels of frustration.
You can start by looking at the programs and systems you are paying for to determine which are of no future value. Do the technical house cleaning before adding to your digital infrastructure. With the bulk of the workforce having more computing power in their bedrooms, they’ll immediately feel better about where they work.
(3) Proactively Train Your People:
Your people can do more and will do more if you invest in training as a regular approach to running your business. Areas where training can have an immediate impact on your top and bottom lines are customers service, management and sales. Each of these areas deals primarily with other people. No one likes to be in situation where they feel powerless to rectify problems, but this is what happens when people are not properly and continually trained.
Think of the costs associated with poorly performing customer service people unable to deal effectively with customer complaints. Or the sales rep who continually comes up short because he/she can’t close a sale. Worst of all is the aspiring new manager who loses confidence when dealing with more senior employees who are done training the boss
(4) Keep your facility current:
Number 4 of our 5 habits of a healthy business is easy to try out! Let’s face it, the average employee today spends 50% or more of their daily ‘awake’ time at work. Is your facility a pleasure to work at or does it look like something from the 70’s! This is an area which is the least expensive to upgrade yet can have monumental benefits on people’s mindsets.
The bare minimum on this one is cleanliness. Not just regular cleaning but de-cluttering. I’m amazed at the offices I visit that have decided to use the front entrance as a storage area. Clean up the clutter, have the carpets cleaned and paint the walls. Then, invite each employee to bring in a favorite picture to hang on all that open space.
Treat your staff and your customers like important holiday guests. Don’t let them come to a place every day that looks like no one cares. If they think you don’t care, they won’t either
(5) Consider Remote Work on a Limited Basis:
I know, this is a scary thought for lots of owners and executives, and with good reason. It’s rarely implemented correctly and when it goes bad, everyone hears about it. But on a limited basis, you can actually get more production from it on a more timely basis. The secret is to have your technology bridge the gap in the face of absent bodies in the office.
There are some jobs that simply can’t be handled remotely and there are some employees who won’t work well at home so take the time to think about how this can work in your work environment. It’s essentially a free perk and if the standards and reporting systems are aligned correctly, you’ll have much more engaged employees. Remember, according to numerous national studies, the average worker is wasting 25% of each day. Why not find an inspiring way to recapture some of that unproductive time!
Having a healthy business today is more than financial details. It’s about providing a contemporary, well-maintained place for employees to work, customers to visit and vendors to interact with. Once the word gets out that your business is the place to shape a career, other nagging costs like recruiting, HR grievances, and in-house skirmishes will be the exception and not the rule. Implement these 5 habits of a healthy business and those minor worries will disappear sooner rather than later.
Keep an eye on your business environment and your people will have their eye on you!
About the Author:
Steve Smith is President & Founder of GrowthSource Coaching, a business and executive coaching company in Orange County, CA. Steve writes on his coaching specialties- leadership, management, and marketing. He hosts a weekly internet radio and podcast show called Business Wingmen and speaks to business groups on the benefits of high level performance. You can connect with Steve through his LinkedIn account or call him directly at 949-951-9163.