If you ask a business owner what their most valuable asset is – most will tell you it’s their employees. Though this answer is cliché and overused, people really are the most important part of any business – large or small. Employees are key drivers of customer loyalty, revenue, sales and profit and without a happy workforce, your business will surely suffer.
If you notice an increase in any of the following areas it could be an indication that there is a problem with employee morale. In particular, you should watch out for an increase in:
• Employee turnover
• Customer complaints
• Employee complaints
• Theft and/or sabotage and,
• Conflicts between departments, employees and managers.
If these problems go unaddressed they will negatively impact your bottom line. You can’t afford to have a disgruntled workforce as every customer, employee and supplier can use the internet to share their bad experience with hundreds, thousands or even millions of people (remember the Dominos pizza incident?).
This is exactly the situation that Karin Lindner tries to prevent with her business. After working in the manufacturing industry for years, Karin started KARICO Solutions to bridge the gap between disgruntled employees and the managers who desperately need to keep them motivated. “There is a lot of unused brain power in North American companies and that needs to change,” she says. Karin believes that many organizations are not using their employees to their full potential and that employers need to realize that their workforce is a good source of innovation. That’s why meeting with employees is the first thing she does when assessing a problem with employee morale.
Karin works in a six step process where she meets with groups of 9-to-16 employees to complete a two hour workshop where they share their feedback with her. “Employees almost always see different issues than management,” she adds. After meeting with employees, she will meet with management and provide them with the three most important issues that are contributing to the problem. Once that is done, she will work with managers and employees to immediately improve one or two key areas. Karin believes that one of the biggest mistakes that many businesses make is trying to change too many things at once. “People get overwhelmed when they have a large list of things to improve on,” she says. Karin also believes that every relationship is a combination of give and take and that people must focus on their own behaviour before pointing the finger at someone else. “You have to be able to take responsibility for your own actions first before you can expect the environment to change,” she says.
Through her experience Karin has found that it’s usually the simple things that have the biggest impact on employee morale. For example, if employees have been complaining about a clogged sink, you should take the time and resources to fix it. Acknowledging these simple problems shows employees that you care and they really are your most valued asset.
If you’re looking for more information, stay tuned for the release of Karin’s upcoming book called, “How can we make Manufacturing Sexy – A Mindset of Passion and Purpose.” You can also attend a free webinar or follow us on Facebook for even more information on this subject.