Am I asking too much?

I have had a lot of staff churn recently and am spending more time than usual recruiting. I questioned out loud why this was the case and one staff member suggested it was “all work and no play”. I’m wondering if they’re right and if a morale boost is required, but I don’t want to take my foot off the accelerator. My own lifestyle has been consumed by my business, is it too much to ask for others to be as committed?

A. Phil Jones writes:
Motivating people to feel the same sense of individual responsibility as you is hard, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create a high-performing environment that people want to belong to and feel a part of. In many employee surveys, feeling trusted, having interesting work, feeling challenged and interacting with others always rate as highly as salary when staff are asked about job satisfaction. So taking time to think about these things could pay big dividends long term. Good communication underpins everything. Share your enthusiasm for the business. Tell staff what you want from them and your ambitions for the company, the major things you are working to deliver and how they can contribute. Above all, be visible.

Report back regularly, good news and bad. Often, employees feel really engaged and much more committed if they are helping to solve the bigger issues that the company faces. They may even be able to share some of the workload that you are carrying.

It can really pay to be more flexible too. You should consider how you can improve your employees’ work-life balance. Simple and low-cost gestures, like starting a bit later in the morning or giving people an extra day’s holiday for their birthday are low cost, high-benefit gestures. Regular team building, from occasional nights out to organised events also make people feel valued.

The trick is not to do it so often that it becomes a routine, but often enough to keep it stimulating and worthy of going along. If you don’t focus more on leading your team, it’s unlikely they will share your commitment and staff churn will continue to become an issue. Get it right and you’ll cut your recruitment costs, have a productive workforce and everyone, including you, will be even more motivated to drive your business to even greater heights.


Phil Jones is sales and marketing director at Brother UK, and responsible for £100m of sales annually. He is also an active member of Manchester’s Chamber of Commerce.



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