Ask a business owner, manager or director from any organisation, large or small, what makes them stand out above their competitors, what makes them unique, and they will probably tell you one of the following: a great product or service, pricing, location or marketing.
These are all things that can make a difference as to whether a customer chooses you or a competitor, but none of them are entirely unique. Unique is something that can’t be copied, like a product; unique can’t be price-matched; and unique can’t be relocated to a different retail unit or office. In that case, what really makes your business stand out above your competitors, what makes you unique?
You don’t need to rack your brains for too long, of course the thing that makes your business unique is your employees.
Employees are the lifeblood of your business
Your employees are the lifeblood of your business, without them there would be no-one to sell your product or service, no-one to answer the customer service calls and so on. Yet frequently managers at all levels of an organisation are overlooking the well-being, motivation and engagement of their employees.
Get this right and you can make substantial improvements, not only to your bottom line, but to employee loyalty, sick leave and recruitment.
Companies that get it right, including Google, Virgin and Apple, ensure that their employees feel appreciated and that they understand how their role fits into the bigger picture. And as a results they outperform their competitors.
Organisations often invest a significant amount of money recruiting the right staff, only to not invest in the ongoing well-being, motivation and engagement of their employees, and as a result employees leave.
The cost of staff turnover and replacing employees who have left can be as much as 150% of the employee’s salary, according to Mercer Consulting. In some companies it can cost even more.
There’s no good reason not to invest in your employees’ well-being, motivation and engagement, and there’s plenty of technology that can help you.
Implementing a recognition and reward scheme is a good place to start. Recognising your employees for going that extra mile will not only motivate them, but it will also motivate and inspire their co-workers onto bigger and better things, thereby improving employee behaviour and business performance.
Help from technology
This is where the technology can come into its own. Technology can allow co-workers to recognise each other with a few clicks of a mouse, or a few taps of a finger on a tablet PC. They can send instant thank you messages, or nominate people for employee of the month awards. It makes managing recognition and reward schemes so much easier and cost-effective, and there’s the whole social aspect which really engages employees.
Technology is even impacting on the rewards that are available. These days employees can select rewards from an on-line catalogue, they can receive pre-paid cash-back cards to spend on whatever they like, or they can book a day off in lieu, all within a few clicks.
If you start to treat your employees as valued members of the team, and not just someone doing a job and getting paid for it, then then they will reward you several times over; if not then you can wave them goodbye now.