Small business owner in a coffee shop

How to Build a Company Culture Where Talent Thrives and Stays

People are among the most important elements powering your business—what are you doing to protect this vital asset? A star employee need only have a bad morning, and a new job could be luring them away via their smartphone over lunch (Facebook launched a job-seeking function in February 2017).

Your game plan needs to involve the very forces which have disrupted the talent game—technology—combined with compassion. Here are our tips on how to build a thriving company culture where people want to stay and evolve by your side:

Build better managers

It always starts from the top. According to a Gallup poll, 50% of employees left their job because of the bad relationship with their manager. And Psychology Today suggests that one of the major reasons they’re leaving is the blight of unrealistic expectations. In order to build flourishing teams, you need to set the right expectations—ones that are within a person’s grasp so that they can perform well, but not so far off that they continually fall short, or so easy that it hampers their productivity.

To do this, arm your managers with the innovations that technology has ushered into small businesses, tools like Instore which helps everyone from restaurants to bar owners and bookstore owners to add smart labor management tools into their transactions at the cash register. Our labor optimization settings, for example, help you track labor as a percentage of sales as well as sales by employee, keeping expectations firmly rooted in reality. Our tools track a number of employee actions on your register(s), allowing managers to identify problems quicker, preventing them from spiraling out of control.

Keep people motivated

The best manager applauds a job well done and zeros in like a hawk when inaccuracies or bad practices are slowing down team members. You need to watch productivity—and if you’re a restaurant owner or in retail, there are tech tools that will help you do this in extraordinarily precise and cost-effective ways.

But with all that data on productivity and employee engagement, you also need to have strategic conversations. Harvard Business Review points to a fascinating new initiative that John Deere has launched. Reacting to the ever-quickening pace of business, they put processes in place to check on employee morale once every two weeks. This involves reviewing data on performance but also asking how people are feeling about the work—a term they call a “happiness metric.”

As the article reports— one employee was highly motivated, but in the following production cycle, reported feeling dramatically less positive. Although the data on his performance hadn’t yet changed, an ensuing conversation revealed that the employee was worrying about his career development. He could have very easily been pulled away by another job.

By paying attention to the motivation metric, the issue was caught quickly before there were any performance problems, and there was no need for any formal corrective actions,” the article reports. The takeaway? Match the data you are gathering from your smart tools, with the human practice of checking in and noticing when employee behavior changes. This builds empathy and resilient teams.

Automate tasks where needed

If you run a retail or restaurant business, instead of asking a staff member to take inventory in a dreary dark corridor—give that thankless task to your point-of-sale system. Massive advances in technology are automating all sorts of tasks, and your employees will be happy to have them taken away. At Instore we offer a smart inventory tracker linked to the point-of-sale system. This frees up your team member to be standing on the shop floor and interacting with customers.

Allow this automation to work its way into your business processes. Are your employees having to update their hours themselves? This slows things down, letting human error and possibly distrust bleed into the process. You need to track performance accurately and honestly—and in today’s connected world, automated tools can do this more accurately than any human has been able to do.

Be a human

Creating a thriving company culture ultimately comes down to creating an environment where fellow humans flourish. The number one reason that employees hate their bosses, according the Psychology Today report cited above, is when bosses don’t “treat employees like human beings.”

By bringing on board smart management tools, automating the dreary tasks, and using metrics to monitor productivity, you can manage others far more efficiently—freeing up time to spend developing and honing your talents. You can follow the lead of folks like Christina Coy, vice president of marketing for Pie Five Pizza Co, who explains in this Restaurant Business story how she takes her team out for breakfast to brainstorm new ideas and scope out the local competition.

“We’re all human beings at the end of the day,” she says. “When you talk about things other than work, it helps you step back for a moment and refocus.”

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