Challenges Business Owners Will Be Facing in 2019 Series: Revenue Growth – Talking to Your Employees
In last month’s topic, Revenue Growth – “Talking to your Customers”, I interviewed Dario Priolo, a marketing consultant, about the importance of talking to your customers to understand how they view your products and services and their relationship with your company. Priolo believes this demonstrates to your customers that you care and value the relationship your company has with them. Priolo recommended calling one to two customers each week or approximately 12 per quarter and periodically meeting with the management team to discuss the results of these calls. The first full survey results blog can be read on the Viking website as well as the results of the 2019 Survey.
This month’s topic, Revenue Growth – “Talking to Your Employees”, is based on my role as Managing Partner of a CPA firm for over 20 years, observations of successful business I worked with, and my own training and research.
Some businesses have engaged consultants who survey employees, conduct retreats, develop company mission statements and other strategies all designed to improve “employee engagement” and improve company performance. While this proves worthwhile for many companies, small and medium business may have limited time and resources to devote to this. But what really is employee engagement and how can company performance be improved if resources are limited?
It starts with the owner of the company demonstrating to the employees that he or she cares about them, how they think about their jobs and the company. I recall a training video for new employees at The Walt Disney Company I saw many years ago and one important theme has stuck with me. It was The Walt Disney Company’s goal was to treat their employees the same way they expected the employees to treat their guests (i.e. customers). If your employees don’t understand the company’s plans, don’t feel good about their jobs or the company they probably won’t deliver the performance you need to grow revenues?
Demonstrate the Importance of Your Employees
So, this concept must start at the top of the company. Ownership and management have to embrace and proactively demonstrate the importance of the employees to the success of the business. One way to start is practice MBWA – “management by walking around.” Spend some time each day or each week talking to your employees where they are working and not just in your office. To do this, many business owners might have to reprioritize their time and their approach to their business.
If you spend most of your time at your desk and in meetings, do you really know what your employees think about your company, their jobs and how your customers are being served? Spend time with them and demonstrate that you care about them and the work they do for your company. Make sure they know your plans for the company and how they will benefit. Ask them about their jobs, their training, if they have what they need to do their jobs and serve the customers and ask for their ideas.
If you are genuine and do this consistently over time you will develop their trust and you will learn a great deal more about how they view their jobs, management, and the customers, and employee engagement will increase. Studies have shown that companies with high employee engagement have increased growth rates and higher profits than companies with low employee engagement.
Of course, other factors affect employee engagement such as wages, benefits, training and working conditions. You can and should periodically benchmark your salaries and benefits with your competitors and other companies in your local market. Also, employee surveys can be helpful as a part of your business strategy.
The long-term benefit in today’s tight job market of achieving higher levels of employee engagement is employee retention. Employee retention is vital to achieving high levels of quality and customer service, customer retention, revenue growth, and profitability. Owners and management need to carve out time from their busy schedules to practice “management by walking around.”
Before starting, I suggest doing some research:
- Management By Walking Around (MBWA) (https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTMM_72.htm)
- The Pros and Cons of Employee Benefits Benchmarking https://www.griffinbenefits.com/employeebenefitsblog/pros-and-cons-of-employee-benefits-benchmarking)
- How Does Employee Engagement Effect Performance (https://www.reviewsnap.com/blog/how-does-employee-engagement-affect-performance)
- Four enablers of engagement (https://engageforsuccess.org/the-four-enablers)
Stay tuned for Challenges Business Owners Will Be Facing in 2019 Series: Revenue Growth Part 3 next month