Opinion

Charlie Mullins: Making a workforce feel valued and thanked is key to success

4 min read

26 January 2015

The success of a good entrepreneur is marked by the success of the people they surround themselves with.

I touched on this in a recent column for Real Business highlighting the importance of building a team of advisors, supporters and employees that can help entrepreneurs deliver on their ideas.

Of this group, sometimes the toughest challenge is to get those who work for you to share in your vision and put in the same level of blood, sweat and tears required to make a business a success.

But why should they? After all, they have no motivation to drive the business forward other than the pay cheque at the end of the month. Of course, their work is making a contribution and, especially for those on performance-related incentives, the better they do, the better the business does.  

But if the enterprise fails, they can go off to find work elsewhere while the entrepreneur is left to pick up the pieces (and if they’ve got anything about them, dust themselves off and move on!)

So the challenge is to motivate employees by getting them to buy into the passion entrepreneurs have for their businesses. This will never happen 100 per cent, but get them to 80 per cent and you’ll be on the right track.

It’s much easier to do this in a small business because a handful of workmates tends to create a team-like mentality where they work in each other’s pockets and instantly share in the successes and challenges.

However, it gets tougher when the business grows and sometimes employees feel disconnected from what their employer is trying to achieve and the important part they play in its success.

Read more from Charlie Mullins:

Wanting to be appreciated for what you do is inherent in all of us and that means employers have to do more than just pay their staff in recognition of their efforts.

It can be done in many ways – from company-funded social activities to low-cost reward schemes. Whatever a business uses, the aim has to be to engender a sense of team spirit and self worth within the workforce. 

I read last week that the retailer Argos introduced the country’s first ever employee motivation day, which was designed to get everyone pulling in the same direction by recognising and motivating employees.

The company understands that making employees feel valued or thanked for a job well done can make a real difference to their productivity and commitment to the business. 

I’ve never confessed to knowing much about physiological HR practices, but this is nothing more than common sense. But, as I often say, that ain’t that common and business owners who don’t value their workforce will find the engine of their business grinding to a halt however hard they push the accelerator to drive it forward.

At Pimlico Plumbers we have a variety of activities that reward and motivate staff. From the subsidised canteen that serves up a constantly changing menu of good quality food to the regular visits from the team at Relax at Work who provide staff with relaxation and massage sessions, these simple benefits pay off in the best possible way by creating a happier and more contented workforce.

Just like a general who needs to prepare his troops to win the battle, an entrepreneur that has the support of their workforce will be able to walk a couple of inches taller and lead their business to real success.

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