Managing People: Happy people, more profit!

by Henry Sebata, Managing Partner, Avocado Vision

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I have never come across a business that has succeeded without people, yet it can be complicated to manage people – even when you have hired the best.

It is critical that as an entrepreneur you learn how to manage your employees and keep them in your business. The staff that work for you determine:

  1. How happy your customers are with your business .
  2. The quality of the product and services that you sell.
  3. The costs that you incur in the making, selling and delivery of your products and services.
  4. Your risks – the things that can go wrong and how much it costs you.

All of these things determine your profitability and competitiveness. How do you ensure that everyone is on the same side and helping you to make profits?

At work, everyone believes that they are getting something (money, experience, learning) and are giving something in return (time, effort, creativity). People weigh up in their mind “How much am I giving, how much am I getting in return, and is this fair?” If they believe that they are giving too much but getting too little, then this is unfair, and their productivity won’t be optimal.

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As a manager you need to know how your people feel about what they are giving and getting and; and manage the giving or getting side so that people become more productive.

Smaller businesses often cannot afford to pay more or provide the sort of benefits (pension, medical aid, bursaries etc.) that larger firms can afford, and so the staff may be unhappy, less productive and on the look-out for something better.

So how do you increase happiness without money?

Provide these fundamental things that most people want:

  1. Job security. Knowing that they will still have a job next year and that they will get paid on time.
  • Knowing that they are contributing to the success of the business: If you train staff to have the knowledge and skills to do a better job; you encourage and support them to do this, then they are happier, and you increase profits. If you then share some of these profits with the staff that helped you to make them, then everyone wins!
  • To be taken seriously and treated with respect.  If you do this, employees are happier, and they will also handle your customers with respect.
  • To be part of the team. You can do this often by having a regular briefing on what your plans are and discussing ideas. Because your employees are the ones doing the actual work they will often have good intentions and then will be motivated to implement them – it was their idea after all!

Having a high staff turnover is a bad thing for most types of businesses. If you implement the strategies above you will have happier staff that are more productive and more profitable business.


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