Running a small business gives you the unique opportunity to develop strong relationships with your employees, relationships which are built both upon the employees’ professional goals as well as their personal interests. The trick is to successfully manage these relationships while making sure you and your business is perceived with professionalism.
Unique Company Culture
Understanding your employees on a personal level can be tricky. But the good news is — you don’t have to spend large sums of cash on “team-building” luxury destinations to develop good relationships with your employees.
For example, one popular company event that I host is “Wendy Woman Restaurant Week.” During this time I cook lunch for the entire team. We all share recipes and promote good health and positive well-being through savvy food choices. These lunches are great opportunities to get to know folks on a personal level, and everyone seems to love them.
A more business-oriented activity that encourages everyone’s participation is a monthly whiteboard discussion. This activity, suitable for any small business, gives employees the chance to vet any and all ideas for a business line or strategy change. It ensures that everyone feels they have a say in how things are run.
Leadership by Example
If you’re concerned about maintaining a professional image, the best way to achieve this is to set an example of high performance, coupled with a positive work ethic.
Employees will then be inspired to do the same.
The nature of startup culture requires “all hands on deck” (i.e. everybody pitches in, regardless of title or pay scale). In this environment employees can quickly develop a sense of ownership, making them more invested in the success or failure of the business itself.
Foster an environment that empowers your employees. This starts with listening, learning, and implementing. When employees are fully committed to a company, they will share ideas and strategies that show they truly care about the success of your business.
Listen to these strategies, learn from them, and implement the ideas that add value to the overall business.