If you’re in charge of a company with an expanding client base and quick financial growth, it can be easy to forget one key factor of your company’s success — your employees.
No matter how big your brand becomes, your company is nothing without the people who make it run. While it’s easy to think of your business as something that belongs only to you, it’s important to treat your employees as vital contributors to its health.
Keeping employees invested and engaged during your growing pains takes effort, but what’s worse is allowing them to get left behind. Gathered from my own experience growing a business, here are three tips to keep your team happy and united:
1. Set expectations early.
Setting expectations early on — for workloads, company culture, benefits, etc. — helps employees remain happy over time. If your team knows what they are agreeing to, they are more likely to remain involved during periods of growth.
One way to establish expectations is through a robust orientation schedule. At the onset of employment, new hires should meet with peers across all departments as well as the leadership team. Encourage team to not only share what their role is in the company and how they will interact with the new employee, but also to share some personal insights such as family, hobbies, etc. When employees can understand other roles and how their own positions interact across the company, they can feel confident in their contribution and status.
2. Communicate often.
How often and how well you communicate with your employees is tough and often overlooked. Whereas profits and sales are quantifiable, talking with your team is not. The communicate on a regular and consistent basis able to understand them more in term of their feeling and work task. There are also ways to incorporate communication into events that stimulate engagement. Plan a happy hour for an upcoming holiday, or do something more unique, like celebrating Monday instead of Friday. For example, our team tends to host impromptu celebrations ranging from barbecues to work-hours parties such as our event to unveil a new logo. Although these get-togethers seem simple, they create avenues for communication where your team can enjoy the benefits of their hard work.
3. Get to know your employees personally.
As your brand continues to expand, it can become stressful to sacrifice valuable work hours to spend time with your employees. However, during periods of growth, knowing your team personally is important. Employees who feel a direct and genuine connection to upper management will feel a stronger relationship and accountability to their company, too.
Finding the time to build personal relationships starts with setting the time aside. Rather than just saying you will meet with employees, budget real time into your calendar and then stick to it. There are many fun ways to schedule this time. For instance, I like to host monthly feedback lunches. Not only do these lunches give me the chance to learn more about my team in a casual setting — we all share a fun fact about ourselves — but they are also a great opportunity for unfiltered company feedback.
Not only does consistently interacting with your employees build relationships, but it also weeds out the weaker connections. When you create a culture where everybody works together toward the same goal, it’s likely a mutual feeling when it’s not the right fit. By setting expectations early on, it’s relatively easy to tell when an employee’s values and objectives are not aligned with the company’s. Separation becomes natural, and when employees do leave, it’s typically for the right reason — or another sensible opportunity — not because they feel left behind.
There’s never a wrong time to start engaging employees and building out the practices to do so. While you might not be in a state of growth right now, you can only hope that one is just around the corner.