When you run a business of a certain size, there’s a good chance you have no idea what life is like for certain members of your staff. You are too far removed from their everyday lives to truly know what their role entails. This separation is inevitable, but it can also cause issues.
When you don’t truly know what life is like for your staff, there’s a chance you may make decisions that impact their ability to do their job. If you run a healthcare clinic and you make a change to the reception rota, you might have no idea that you’re leaving the clinic understaffed during busy times. If you’re the owner of an accountancy firm, you might insist that everyone switches to new software that you don’t have to use, so you have no idea that the new software is a complete nightmare to use. There are plenty of other examples of how this happens; your separation from the main body of the business is isolating you from the reality of what the working lives of your employees are actually like.
This separation can create a chasm between you, the business owner, and the workers you so rely on for support in running your business. To ensure you’re always up-to-date with the goings-on inside your company, it’s worth spending some time looking at life through your employees’ eyes.
Ask And Listen
The first step to bridging the chasm is to ask your employees for feedback. It’s wise to allow this feedback to be anonymous, using a Google Docs form or just dropping slips of paper into a hat. You don’t need to know who the feedback is coming from; you just need to know the negatives so you can act on them. If you’re an accountancy firm owner, you might need to be told that the usage of jargon is annoying– but none of your staff are going to say that to your face. When you do know, you can try and cut down the jargon and speak in plainer terms.
Look At The Challenges
Take a few hours to observe the things that your workers have to cope with. You don’t have to hover over their shoulder; just pretend to be absorbed in another task, but keep one eye on what they’re going through. If you’re a healthcare clinic boss, you might not have previously realized just how much your reception staff are hassled by patients when a medic is out sick without replacement. When you do know, you can make a note to always look for locum tenens physician staffing far faster than you otherwise would have.
Examine Their Finances
Not in a literal way, of course; you don’t want to go rifling through the personal accounts of your staff members. However, it does help to see a salary through the recipient’s eyes rather than just the amount you are willing to pay. If you’re an accountancy firm owner, then you might think that you’re paying a reasonable rate to your inexperienced office junior, but on calculating their living costs you realize they might only just be scraping by. When you know this, you can take action, and potentially look for room in the budget to increase their wages a tiny amount that will nevertheless make all the difference to their quality of life.
Looking at your company through the eyes of your employees is vital. It gives you an insight into what they experience, as well as ideas where your company might be able to do better. So why not give it a try, and see just how much you might be able to learn?