How HR can manage staff challenges during periods of business growth
Robert Hicks,Group HR Director at Reward Gateway, the world’s leading provider of employee engagement technology, shares his tips on how HR can manage staff challenges during periods of business growth.
Many businesses are starting to realise that employees are one of the – if not the – greatest asset(s) to any business, especially one that is growing rapidly. For most growing businesses, employee engagement might not be as much of a priority as financial and operational considerations, but nurturing it can bring huge benefits which will take your business to even greater heights.
Here at Reward Gateway, we have been around for 10 years and today have 330 employees across six offices globally, but throughout that time there have been a few occurrences where the business has grown really quickly. The company has also changed ownership twice, most recently in a deal worth £140 million. As a result, we’re well acquainted with change and know how to work through periods of crazy expansion! Here are our three top tips on how we have managed to keep our people on side and engaged throughout the whole process – they’re relevant for any growing business.
Communicate communicate communicate
Open and honest communication is something that all businesses claim to have, but a few put into practice. A business can survive without good communication, but will struggle to thrive and grow. When Reward Gateway started out, it was a very small company with a handful of people in a small office, so open communication was easy. You could have a team meeting by just standing up and calling one! At that time there was no need for an intranet; you could just use a whiteboard, or go out for a team lunch.
As the company has grown – we now have several offices across three continents – we’ve made it a point to keep communication and transparency very high on our agenda. We achieve this by hosting a quarterly all hands Global Business Update (GBU), which is presented from at least two of our offices, and live streamed to each of our offices across the globe, so everyone watches at the same time. The GBU is a full scale event which requires a lot of organisation, so we do it quarterly, but keep our employees up to date in the meantime through our fortnightly internal TV programme – Global Briefing. It’s available on our own SmartHub® technology, boom!, for all employees to watch whenever suits them.
Anyone can host a business update, it doesn’t have to be big or extravagant, but it’s a really good opportunity to let your employees know what is going on in the business in terms of growth and company news. It also reinforces to each and every member of your team what role they play in the overall success of the business and why that’s important. The result? Employees who feel as invested in the business as you do, and come into work full of energy as a result.
Maintaining loyalty is key to growing a business successfully. When a company is in the process of selling the business, HR and the senior management team must ensure their employees are on side. When employees feel fulfilled at their jobs, they go the extra mile to help the business improve. They share their knowledge and expertise, they become team players, always thinking outside the box, boost morale and unlikely to see the glass as ‘half empty’. Happy employees are productive and efficient, which results in better sales figures and savings on resources.
Loyalty is largely inspired by flexibility and paying attention to the individual needs of your employees. The key here is to listen to what your employees are telling you and be open to suggestions. HR must reassess their current reward & recognition programmes and the amount of flexibility employees are entitled to in the workplace.
At Reward Gateway, the majority of our people are millennials and we know that many of them are starting to think about marriage and children, so we offer special bonuses for people planning their weddings and starting a family. Most recently, we’ve offered our employees across the globe unlimited year-long paid parental leave for parents who are primary carers during the first year after the birth or adoption of a child. Giving people the option to work from home is a great way to boost staff morale and motivation, as well as loyalty.
Trust plays a major role in gaining employees loyalty. By trusting them and giving them a sense of freedom and control when it comes to their work life, they feel respected by their employer and respond well to that. The ability to work from home, from time to time, or adjust their work life to balance their personal life, shows confidence and helps employees tailor the job to their needs – which results in highly motivated staff, producing better results.
Recruiting the right people
Finding the right people for your business might be daunting and time consuming at the best of times, but especially so during stages of growth. It is one of the most crucial aspect of growing any business.
At Reward Gateway, we are not big believers of hiring from our own market. Our people come from different backgrounds with a range of skillsets and expertise. What we look for is attitude. We believe we can train a person to have the right skills for the job, and we can all agree that it’s much harder to train attitude.