With the newly elected government comes many changes and challenges for business owners. Jenny Grace explains how to discover the strengths of your employees to improve your business performance.
The new government has already outlined changes that will affect businesses. One example is the minimum wage increase of 27 percent between now and 2021.
So how can your business survive, and even thrive, in these changing times? The trick is to turn the changes to your advantage.
Smart businesses will not be bothered by increasing wage costs. They will see this as an opportunity to make their business more efficient. Smart businesses will implement strategies to increase their performance and boost their productivity. Even a small increase in productivity per employee can have significant benefits for businesses.
Here are three simple strategies that business owners can implement to thrive in an increasing cost environment:
Look for additional opportunities
A billion dollar fund for regional development projects has been announced by the new government. How can you turn this to your advantage?
Network to build relationships to ensure others know what you offer. The more people you talk with, the more likely it is you will spot opportunities and connections that can link with what you do.
Prepare for growth by spotting opportunities before your competitors do. Alternatively, think about how to improve something your competitors are already doing.
Interview some of your clients to discover services or products they wish you offered. You might find you already offer some of these, but they are not aware of them. Listen to what problems they have and think about how you can solve them.
Look for opportunities rather than leaving it to luck.
Use resources effectively
Audit all your materials and suppliers to determine if you are getting good value and what other options are available.
Consider a different way to perform each part of your process, that might be cheaper, faster or more efficient. Talk to your team, your suppliers and your clients, to expand the pool of ideas.
Focus on your existing clients. Twenty percent of your clients probably account for approximately 80 percent of your revenue. How can you meet more of their needs? Can you provide a faster service or a package deal for them?
Enhance your clients’ experience. Do something to make a positive, lasting impression, making it more likely they will remember you and refer your business. This might be as simple as providing a small gift with a purchase or making a follow-up phone call.
Use technology to stay in touch with clients, from social media or direct marketing to helpful tips via email.
Increase the value of your staff
The most important resource of any business is its employees.
If you want to improve the performance and productivity of your staff, there are two approaches you can take. The first approach is to try to fix their weaknesses. The trouble with trying to fix weaknesses is that it is not very effective.
For example, you might send someone on a time management course if you want them to improve their productivity and how they manage their time. Your staff will probably benefit to some degree and might improve from weak to average. However, it is unlikely your staff will ever be amazing and excel in their weaknesses.
Also, we all have hundreds of things we are not very good at doing. How can we possibly fix them all?
The second approach is to focus on your staff’s strengths. This is a simple, seldom-used approach to improve performance.
You focus on what your staff are already good at — their natural talents — and get them to use these things more often.
A natural talent is someone’s natural way of thinking, feeling or behaving. Using your natural talents is a bit like cleaning your teeth holding the toothbrush in your dominant hand — it is easy, natural, takes little concentration and task performance is excellent.
Compare this to a weakness, like cleaning your teeth holding the toothbrush in your non-dominant hand — it is difficult, unnatural, takes intense concentration, and task performance is unsatisfactory.
For the same amount of effort, we can achieve so much more when we work with our strengths.
Research shows that people who use their strengths every day are six times more likely to be engaged at work and are eight percent more productive. They are also three times more likely to report having an excellent quality of life. Teams have been found to be 12.5 percent more productive when they use their strengths.
Facilitate opportunities for your employees to use their natural strengths every day, and align their strengths with the responsibilities and objectives of their role. Your business will achieve more at no additional cost.
My key message is very simple. The most effective way to get amazing performance from your staff is to enable them to use their strengths a lot more often.
Jenny Grace is a performance and productivity improvement coach. To learn more about how to discover the strengths of your employees and improve your business performance, contact Jenny via [email protected] or visit www.thednaproject.co.nz to download her free guide ‘The Acres of Diamonds High-Performance Solution’.