Your Greatest Asset

This kind of article would normally last around 500 words and it wouldn’t be until around the 400th word that the subject of the title would finally be revealed. This isn’t one of those articles.

Your greatest asset as a business owner? Most will agree it’s the staff. The business simply wouldn’t survive without them. They determine how your customers feel when they deal with you. They are the biggest influence on your profitability. Of course you value them. But do they value you?

Why do your staff come into work every day? Is it your undoubted charm that brings them through the door? Or, maybe more likely, the salary you pay? What about the additional benefits you provide?

The simple fact is many employers simply don’t know. And the reason they don’t know is because they have never asked. When was the last time you did something that could be called a staff survey? And even if you have done one in the recent past, what action did you take off the back of it?

It’s not just about you having a greater understanding of your staff. It’s about staff understanding what the business is trying to achieve. Is it just about profit? Or are you driven by customer service? You know. But do your staff? And do they share your values?

Well, to find out, you could just go and ask them. But will the direct approach elicit honest answers? Or will you be told what your staff think you want to hear?

To get a truer picture, it would almost certainly be better to ensure anonymity of those responding. This may at times make for uncomfortable reading but it is only by finding out that everyone in the Finance Department feels detached from the rest of the company, for example, that you can do something about it. And anonymous responses don’t automatically mean critical responses. They can throw up better ways of working that you haven’t thought about but which are blindingly obvious to those at the sharp end.

And frequency is important too. A survey once every 5 years that ignores the responses is, frankly, no use to anyone. It can even alienate staff. What is needed is a regular survey that produces feedback which is acted on. That doesn’t mean every suggestion has to be introduced but it does mean every response is looked at.

You may well be asking yourself now if I am just preaching for the sake of it. Well, this is not a do as we say blog, it is a do as we do one.

As a way to improve our business, Richmond House have introduced a quarterly digital staff survey that ensures anonymity for all who take part. It has already highlighted to senior management areas of concern and confusion that can easily be addressed for the good of all. And by being a continuing process, it creates a dialogue valued by both staff and management that can only be good for the business. Think of it as an electronic suggestion box but with a more disciplined approach. We have been so impressed we are now offering this system as an employee benefit service to clients.

If you not only value your greatest asset but want to show them that they are valued, and would like to improve the in-built philosophy of your business to ensure all are working to the same goals, then get in touch with us to find out in more detail what it is we are doing and how it could apply to your business.

Peter Murphy Dip PFS