You can offer the greatest products or services in the world, but your company won’t go anywhere unless you have a great team of employees behind it. And you won’t have a happy, productive staff if you’re pushing them too hard. When you have a small business — especially if you’re just starting out — there’s a lot of pressure to succeed. It makes sense that you might put some of this pressure on your employees, but you have to make sure you’re motivating your staff, not overworking or alienating them. Here are some concerning practices and warning signs that could lead to an unhappy staff.
Your employees are working extremely long hours
Before you open a new location or launch a product, it’s crunch time for you and your staff, and you’re probably going to have to put in extra hours. It’s not unusual or unreasonable to expect your employees to come in early or stay late during this period, as long as there’s a finish line in sight. The problem is when every day is crunch time.
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A study by Stanford University found that, when employees are expected to work more than 40 to 50 hours per week, their output over the long term dropped. In other words, working longer doesn’t mean working harder, or better. And if your employees feel they no longer have time for a social life (let alone exercise or running errands), it’s likely they’ll grow resentful of their job and start looking elsewhere.
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You ask your employees to do more with less
When you have a small, growing business, it’s not uncommon for everyone to wear multiple hats. But when you experience steady, sustained growth, you can’t expect your staff to do the extra work without hiring more employees. Also, if an employee leaves and you’re not planning to replace that person, it’s important that you compensate the staff members picking up the slack with a title change, a bump in pay, or preferably both. They’ll see that you recognize the extra work they’re doing, and feel like you’re invested in their future at the company.
If an employee leaves, you or another staff member (an HR representative, if you have one), should talk to that person about their reasons for leaving. If that’s not a comfortable option, check anonymous company reviews online and see what people are saying about your workplace. Take the reviews seriously. If people seem to be complaining about the same things, you should re-evaluate some of your practices.
Your company’s culture needs improvement
What do you value as a company? More importantly, does what you say align with what you do? According to the Harvard Business Review, there are six components that make up a great company culture — these include values, practices, and people. So, think about whether you’re communicating your values to employees, whether your practices match up with what you do, and whether you’re hiring people who are on board with your values.
If you’re asking a lot of employees, are you also making it easier for them to do their jobs? Flexible hours, working from home, and comp days are just a few options you can offer. And don’t forget to reward your employees for their hard work and hitting their goals. Whether it’s a group outing or just bringing in lunch occasionally — it’s important to show your staff how much you appreciate them.