Content Sponsored by Aflac
Achieving greatness is not as hard as you might think. It's all about getting the building blocks right: making wise business decisions, setting the right example, cultivating culture, hiring and supporting talented people, and treating them well.
Be flexible...and give control to employees
Giving employees the flexibility to adjust their schedules for family commitments, working from home, or spending time on special projects encourages a positive, engaged workforce.
When employees have more control over decisions that affect them they feel empowered and happier. For example, a defined benefit plan where employees can assemble their own benefits package from a pre-approved menu is more attractive than only offering a one-size-fits-all package.
Develop HR in your organization
As the CEO or senior executive, you can't do everything alone.
Whether you have a true human resources (HR) division or not, you still need someone dedicated to monitoring workplace policies, recruiting, managing payroll and benefits, etc. The team can be a part-time resource, a small department, or a third-party provider.
Think of HR as the pacesetter for your company's culture. It's usually the first contact for a job seeker, which is also the first impression they'll have of the company. HR touches every employee on matters critically important to them, and they expect someone to be professional, knowledgeable, and a solid resource for their well-being throughout their employment.
Create a strong rewards system
Reward systems don't have to cost a lot of money. If an employee offers new ideas or innovative process improvements, a simple "thank you" goes a long way. Even better, thank them publicly.
Voluntary benefits packages can also reward employees without adding cost. Employees can opt in and have valuable benefits without increasing the employer cost (or adding minimal cost).
Strong reward systems encourage healthy competition, which spurs people to deliver their best efforts. They reinforce the kind of positive and productive behavior you want from employees.
Boost innovation at all levels
One of the most powerful things a company can do to build a culture of innovation is to encourage employees to make suggestions or step away from the status quo of their positions, without fear of retaliation or consequences for failure. Some companies, in fact, actively encourage employees to work on their own personal projects.
We are in the age of artificial intelligence (AI). Implementing AI-based tools can lead to innovation breakthroughs you may not have dreamed possible.
Cultivate diversity and inclusion
Great companies take full advantage of the talents, backgrounds, experiences, and attitudes of their workers, regardless of their sex, age, race or sexual orientation. When diversity is embraced, it helps companies to connect better with their customer base and the general public. Study after study shows that diversity is good for the bottom line, bringing with it new ideas and ways of thinking.
Keep pace with trends
Millennials now make up one-third of the U.S. workforce1. Defining characteristics of millennials, people born between 1981 and 1996, include "doing good while doing well." Social responsibility is woven into how they view employment.
Millennial employees and job seekers not only want meaningful jobs, but they also want to feel they're contributing to the greater good of society. They're not just evaluating a job, they're also evaluating how the company conducts business and deals with the public.
Good pay and a hearty benefits package are essential to this generation's ability to do good. With fewer practical worries, employees are freed up to focus on the positive impact they can have at work.
Focus on culture
Company culture can make or break a company. A positive, committed employee base with a can-do winning environment can achieve many successes in a startup or small business. Culture is culmination of the attitudes, activities and values reinforced in the business on a daily basis.
How do you build culture? Here are a few simple ways. Highlight and praise actions of individual employees who demonstrate those values. Ask employees what they think the company should stand for, so that they feel invested in building the culture.
Remember, if something is inherently wrong with your culture, replacing people and adding technology and equipment won't change a thing. It will hold the company back from achieving greatness. But a great culture sets the stage for great company performance.
Set the tone as leader
Employees take their cues from the most visible person in the company--usually the owner, CEO or founder. Leadership starts at the top.
Not all founders are natural leaders, though. They may have had a great idea to start the business, but managing others requires a completely different skill-set. Savvy CEOs know developing all skills is key and they set aside time and resources to invest in their own development.
Empower your team with technology
Technology is high on the checklist for your existing teams and top-level job seekers. People want to work at a company that leverages the best technologies to drive success.
A customer relationship management (CRM) system can automate the process of tracking sales leads, freeing up employees from repetitive data entry tasks. Benefits administration software makes benefits choices and changes easier and faster for both employees and employers. Mobile devices and apps untether employees from their offices enabling them to work from home or visit customers in the field more often. In turn, such technologies give employees more time for higher-level innovation, increasing self-esteem and job satisfaction.
Hire and keep the best!
Without question, people are the number one thing that makes a company great. This doesn't mean you have to hire all new "rock star" performers from the outside. Even the smallest companies have hidden gems that just need a little mentoring and employee development to shine.
Invest in developing employees' professional growth. Reward them with the best compensation and benefits package you can afford to retain and motivate them. The secret to a great company is not really a secret at all. It's just paying attention to your best assets: the people.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a solicitation. Aflac herein means American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus and American Family Life Assurance Company of New York. WWHQ | 1932 Wynnton Road | Columbus, GA 31999.