The Business Advisory Blog

The Business Advisory Blog

Insight, news and updates from Alliott NZ Chartered Accountants, Auckland New Zealand. The views expressed here are the views of the author and should be discussed in further detail should an article be relevant to your individual circumstances.

While every effort has been made to provide valuable, useful information in this publication, this firm and any related suppliers or associated companies accept no responsibility or any form of liability from reliance upon or use of its contents. Any suggestions should be considered carefully within your own particular circumstances, as they are intended as general information only.

Vanessa Williams
Published on

Managing people is one of the toughest parts of running a business

Some might say, as soon as you hire someone, you will have problems. It is an area where many businesses struggle.

7K0A0597-403We often hear from our own clients, "I’ve got problems with my team. I have difficulty keeping good people.” Another common frustration we hear is that “good people only stay for a couple of years and then they move on.” Or that team members “complain about the business.” Are you relating to any of this?

This is a team development issue that has negative effects on the business. Low team morale, reduced productivity, apathy towards business goals, disinterest towards customers, low quality work being produced; the accumulation of these effects have a real impact on your client retention, business reputation and profit.

So here’s the question. What system do you have in place to listen to your team members and take action?

How are you enabling your team to provide you feedback?

Perhaps you have completed an ‘employee survey’ before. This is a long, overly detailed, multi-paged survey which might be completed by the team once a year (or even less frequently) and sent back to management for review. The idea is that it allows the management team to gather all comments and insights about the business at one time, who then analyze the data and take action.

The reality is this type of survey is burdensome for both parties. It is long and intimidating for team members, and it is an information overload for the management team who are supposed to make sense of it and formulate appropriate steps. It also requires a lot of processing time before key issues are addressed. Times have changed and having meaningful conversations with people has progressed beyond this type of exchange.

This doesn’t mean that your team doesn’t want to give you feedback. On the contrary, they want to be heard and contribute to positive change in the workplace. But if in the giving of that feedback they feel like they won't be taken seriously, no action will ever be taken, or they are risking their jobs, then certainly no one will speak up.

Some business owners may ask their team for feedback in an open forum. What does not work about this method is that a laundry list of complaints and issues are vocalized with no structure for how the feedback is recorded or how to make constructive changes. Most of the time, these are personal opinions and anecdotes that are not representative of the actual situation.

Meaningful communication is continuous and structured

You can use technology to help create a meaningful dialogue. By providing a structure of asking for and collecting feedback using a convenient platform, team members can respond genuinely and business owners have a useful data set to take action on.

As an example, pick three topics, such as Team Training, Business Communication and Career Progression, and over a six month period you send out three short questionnaires to your team. Each questionnaire is only related to a single topic with six to ten well-crafted questions that will only take a few minutes to answer.

Intelligent technology will analyze the group responses to highlight priority areas that need your attention, and to help you create an action plan. With this, you can go back to your team and say, “Thanks for your feedback. Here are the top areas of concern (or commendation) based on your responses. And this is what we are going to do about it.”

Showing your team you value their feedback and opinions is only the first step. Following through and making changes is critical to building team relationships, developing their professional skills and improving your business.

We can help you with this as we have the system to deploy structured questionnaires and gain insights from your team. We can help you to understand what is really important for your team.

Build a team that is motivated and productive. If this is something you think is worthwhile exploring for your business, please get in touch with our team of business advisers at Alliotts Top 30 NZ accountants in Auckland.

Topics: attraction communication customer experience employees Goal setting leadership management productivity profits talent team