Have you ever tried asking your staff or team members to describe in their own words what it is you actually do as a small business? Try it.
There can be a great assumption that staff are on the same wavelength as you. However, this is often not the case.
When we run our Clarity for Website or Clarity for Branding workshops, I try to encourage the business owner to make sure a good representation of the team are there to get involved and help shape the direction of the small business.
This can often scare some owners, as they think that they should have all the answers and be passing the information on to the staff.
However, here are 4 reasons why your team should be involved at this stage. And by ‘team’ this can be anything from one other person to 15, depending on the size of your business. You don’t want too many as it becomes unmanageable and not everyone gets heard. Just enough to represent your business.
4 reasons to involve your team in business direction
1. Value them - feeling included and valued produces better work
One of the top reasons why employees leave jobs is that they feel they wouldn’t be missed. i.e. they are not valued.
Including staff in shaping the direction of the business helps them to feel valued and to know that their opinion matters. This has to be carried out authentically however. It would be worse to include them just for the sake of it, whilst knowing you aren’t planning to take any of their suggestions seriously.
Dr. Nelson, a clinical psychologist, best selling author and business trial consultant says, “When employees feel that the company takes their interest to heart, then the employees will take company interests to heart”.
2. New ideas - they have ideas you wouldn’t even think of
Everyone is different. We all have differing life experiences and abilities. This means that we come at problems from varying perspectives and think of things that you –as the business owner– just wouldn’t contemplate.
Yes, some ideas can start out wacky and not very realistic, but if you cultivate a working environment that values contributions from everyone then you are bound to find rough stones that can be polished into beautiful gems you wouldn’t have seen otherwise.
I remember when working for one client, a staff member came up with an idea for using online video to help promote the company (and this was in the days before YouTube was big). The idea, when discussed a bit more over the ensuing weeks eventually turned into producing a regular podcast that helped to move the brand forwards.
Everyone has something to contribute if they feel they can.
3. Ownership - they’ll be more invested in making things work
The ideal situation is when everyone is working towards the same goal.
If you all have different ideas of what that goal is, you will be pulling in multiple directions. To staff, work will seem like a stressful atmosphere with even simple tasks feeling like they’re wading through treacle just to complete them.
Including staff at this stage will help to create a brand in which your whole team is invested. They can take ownership of the business and not just treat it like ‘a job’ where they turn up, frustratingly do their bit then leave.
4. Wider skillset - you may find skills you never knew about
When people feel valued and know their opinion matters, it’s far easier for them to suggest new ideas that they can contribute and even implement themselves.
You may find out that Sally, your Database Manager, records podcasts as a passion project in her spare time and, like the example earlier, that might be just what you need to help create more brand awareness.
Brian, your Workshop Manager may have fantastic illustration skills you never knew about and can help solve your problem of bespoke images for your monthly email newsletter.
Yes, there will always be issues to work out such as where the time will come from to implement these ideas, and anything you don’t delegate you’ll still need to make the final decisions on, but for a small business it’s much easier to be flexible.
Take the next steps to get your team involved
I hope this post helps you to realise the importance of including your team –however big or small– in helping to shape your company.
It certainly doesn’t mean you have to implement everything. But it does mean you will go a long way towards creating a brand that everyone in the company understands. This will make it easier to communicate with your customers in a consistent manner, one of the key criteria for a strong brand and thus successful company.
Our Clarity for Website or Clarity for Branding workshops can help you get your team involved. To see which would be the most appropriate for you, book a Clarity Assessment to begin the process. If you have any questions about the Clarity Assessment or this post, just email me via the contact page.