The concept of team engagement has become a hot topic among business owners and operators over the past few years. The fields of sociology, psychology and economics have converged to reveal incredible insights into what makes team members productive, fulfilled and more likely to remain with a given job or company. We can now say conclusively that money is rarely the primary driver when people decide to leave a team. As the economy continues to gain momentum in 2018, this becomes even more important to consider. If your best team members can make comparable money with a competitor, what can you do to foster loyalty?
An annual team survey is an important tool to gauge accountability and receive team member input, but it is far from sufficient by itself. A comprehensive, year-end survey must be augmented with a more frequent gathering of data that measures team satisfaction, performance and concerns. It’s important to know how your team feels about their jobs and company on a Tuesday in February, a Friday in June and a Monday in October. This gives you a much better opportunity to mitigate small issues before they become larger problems. The good news is new technologies are making this data much easier to obtain and analyze. Tools like Slack and SurveyMonkey allow you to conduct polls quickly and anonymously. You could ask just one question at the end of every day, or three questions every Monday morning and every Friday afternoon. While it is important to act on the information you gather, just by putting in place such a program, you begin to demonstrate how important you believe your team is to the success of the business.
Second, you have to setup the job or project by collecting materials and getting it ready for action. Your client service coordinator is heavily involved in this phase. Make sure your client knows everything you need by having your client service coordinator send a checklist to gather all materials and information. Check that everything has been received and if materials are missing then contact the client immediately. Be proactive by calling, emailing or even visiting the client to receive the missing information. This will help minimize the number of open jobs your firm has. Log the job into your electronic and visual workflow systems. Visually displaying your system like on an office whiteboard as well as electronically will increase team accountability per job. Draft the internal hours budget, and have a team discussion to determine how to challenge and minimize the hours drafted. Then, allocate and explain the job to the team member doing the work.
Building a highly engaged team can certainly seem like a daunting and complicated task. And that's fair; some of the work is complex and difficult. But much of it is pretty intuitive and easy to remedy. Ensure your team has all the tools they need to perform the job. Fully functioning, up to date technology and software, a workspace that is clean and inviting, convenient parking and transportation accommodations, and learning and development resources. Shortcomings in these areas only breed resentment. Invest in the tools your people use every day. Invest in the physical space they spend 40 hours a week in.
Remember, what motivates you to grow your business, is most likely different from what motivates others to work for your business. So listen mindfully to your team and design a vision, processes and goals that will incentivize them and reward them. Your rewards will flow naturally from theirs.
About the Author
Colin DunnDirector & Co-founder at PANALITIX
Colin is a Chartered Accountant who, having spent almost 10 years with one of the fastest growing and most innovative firms in the UK, has since invested over 20 years helping business owners to improve their businesses with a focus on attracting new clients, better managing existing clients, developing new products, building an engaged team and strengthening internal business processes.
Colin's primary focus at PANALITIX is on product development and business improvement content. He is the author of the bestselling book “Accountants: The Natural Trusted Advisors".