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Today I want to look at some of the more ethical and cultural issues that tend to be adopted in larger organisations but which are often overlooked in smaller business.
Words such as ‘trust’, ‘respect’, ‘fairness’, ‘justice’ and ‘transparency’ often evoke images of ‘soft’ management and an ‘airy-fairy’ workplace. However, by encouraging such traits, and provided that it’s done with a genuine belief, you will usually find that you employ a happier and more productive workforce. Enhancing both profitability and success for your business in the process.
The key here is to ensure that you truly believe in this intrinsic style of people management. Let’s not forget (and sadly too many business owners do!) that in most companies the employees are the most important assets. Without them, there would be no business.
If we firmly believe this, then we should treat our employees accordingly. I am not talking here about mollycoddling them or giving them anything and everything that they ask for. Personally I don’t believe that this approach necessarily motivates them anyway. I have a motto that I have adopted throughout my career in HR and more recently in the running of Turnstone:
“if you treat people the way that you would expect to be treated yourself, you won’t go far wrong!”
Aside from ensuring that your policies and procedures are fair, transparent and consistent you should try and ensure that individuals feel they are being treated the same as everyone else. Why not start by asking your workforce to adopt their own set of values?
We have done this within Turnstone and these values have subsequently been adopted from myself (Managing Director) downwards – so we now have a set of Company Values.
Our values are:
We always seek to enhance the company’s reputation and will use honest, open and respectful communication
We are open and transparent in what we do, learning from and sharing successes and mistakes
We seek to anticipate and to manage the long-term, maintaining a stance of continual improvement in our process for the benefit of our customers
We take action to develop ourselves and each other, passing on information and knowledge, engaging positively with one another and empowering all to deliver timely and effective action
Respect and Understanding
We treat all with respect, listening to and seeking to understand their needs and concerns. We take business decisions after considering the effect on others.
One thing to keep in mind is that’s important that these values are discovered and developed by the employees themselves. Not imposed on them. Putting your trust in your staff to deliver values that are comfortable to everyone will, usually, result in a happier, more focused and motivated team of employees. And that can only benefit your business!