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10 Things to Do to Empower Staff to


10 Things to Do to Empower Staff to

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									Abdul Rashid
   Late in 2008 the leaders of the US auto
    industry begged for government assistance. It
    was reported that some of them flew to
    Washington for meetings in their private jets.
    Whether this was environmentally or
    economically justified is irrelevant. Think how
    it was perceived by thousands of auto
    workers facing retrenchment and a very bleak
    economic future.
   You want employees to become more cost
    conscious, more profit focussed, more
    customer service oriented and more business
    savvy. You must be prepared to sacrifice a
    personally significant financial or material
    privilege as an example to your employees.
   Call a meeting and tell your people how you
    plan to deal with the effects of the recession.
    If you don't, your staff will make inaccurate
    and misinformed decisions. It's better to tell
    them what's happening rather than create
    damaging rumour and speculation based on
    your silence. They expect to be told the truth.
   Recession is the ideal time for collaboration
    between the business owner or manager and
    staff. It is a very bad time for threats and
    intimidation. You need the full co-operation
    of your staff. You needs their ideas and
    comments. They need to feel free to make
    suggestions and to participate fully in helping
    your business to survive and improve. You
    won't gain co-operation and participation by
    threatening staff with "the sack".
   Retaining your key people is very important in
    a recession. Ensure that they're "onside". They
    are the core of your business. And because
    they're good at their jobs, they're the ones
    most likely to be sought by your competitors.
    Should your business fall into serious decline,
    they'll be the ones who'll find it easiest to
    leave and find another job.
   Assuming you have clear performance
    standards for the various areas of your small-
    medium business, establish a staff committee
    in each area. The staff committee can
    monitor performance, costs, savings and
    operational methods. And when they're
    successful you can reward them with some
   Yes: increase not decrease. This isn't the
    heresy it seems to be. Incentive and reward
    systems are usually used to reward superior
    performance. In a recession you want even
    more superior performance. And you want to
    retain your superior performers. So offer
    superior rewards.
   All businesses have "fat": areas of operation
    that cost more than they really should. Staff
    know where and what they are. Ensure that
    you encourage your people to identify these
    potential savings and suggest action to gain
    them. Reward them when the savings become
    a reality.
   When employees suggest an effective way to
    reduce costs make sure they receive a
    percentage of the actual money saved. Make
    a fuss about cost savings. Have a chart
    showing progressive savings and the cash
    benefit to employees. This will encourage
    participation and prove the integrity of your
   Train intensively in tough times .... and less
    so in good times. In good times you want
    employees to be working hard, setting new
    performance records and serving customers:
    taking advantage of the good times. Prepare
    for the good times with intense internal
    training in tough times. You won't get a
    better opportunity.

A. Abdul Rashid

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