More than just an employee; more than just a job

Recently, a client asked me to speak with a key employee whose role had changed within the business. In fact, over the past few years, that role had changed a number of times. In the meantime, the business had grown from just the two of them to a total staff of eight in two locations.

Now this might not sound significant, but to this business, it has been quite a monumental change. While revenues have grown accordingly, so have the challenges of taking on staff and meeting the expenses. As businesses grow from small beginnings, these are fairly typical challenges.

What was different about this meeting was the employee’s attitude when I asked about how he felt about his job. He replied “Although I know this is not my business, I actually feel more than ‘just an employee’”. He felt a sense of ownership and had a real commitment to the future of the business and his contribution to its growth.

I made the point that it was this attitude that all business owners were looking for in their employees; one that said that “I feel more than just an employee”. So how can this be replicated within other small businesses in the same position? I am 100% sure that it comes back to something I find myself increasingly talking about: Values.

Since that talk, I have also discussed this with the business owner. He told me about another employee whom he found doing some work for him at 1.30am. He certainly hadn’t asked for this, did not expect it and was a little concerned that she would not get the rest she needed. Her comment was “I couldn’t get to sleep and I love this, so I thought I would do this now!”

Again, more than just an employee and to them what they do is more than just a job.

So, when I hear so many people complain that they can’t get the right people and can’t get them to do what they require, what’s the difference? (Just by the way, this business is located in a regional town in WA with a population of less than 2,000.)

So, what is the secret?

The business is not a stage where it can offer great financial rewards; it is not high-profile, so there is no celebrity status gained from being employed there; there are no incentives on offer.

What it does offer is an opportunity to learn, provides challenges to be overcome, offers people the freedom to find solutions to problems, provides training, support and appreciation for work done well. People within this business are engaged and their accomplishments are appreciated.

Simple, heh?

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What John Matthew believes about small business

That the owner has risked many things that others take for granted;

That there is no guaranteed income or reward for the considerable effort that is required;

That often, the family home is on the line to support the business and its constituents;

That there is a dignity and self-respect that is earned;

That entire communities would be better places if there was an increased appreciation and respect for small business.

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