How to help your workforce to excel

The workforce is the lifeblood of a business. Many times, without them, you don’t have a business. 

Because of their importance, the success of a business often depends on the quality of the workforce. But how can you make you have a workforce that excels? Here are some suggestions to help.

Five things you need to look for when recruiting employees

When recruiting for your workforce, you must make sure to choose well. These are the people that will be enacting your vision, the people who will be helping you to deliver whatever good or service you deal in with precision and professionalism. 

Here are five things you want to look for when hiring workers. 

1) Skillset

There is no point in hiring workers who don’t know what they are doing. Even if your business is one which requires niche talent, it is important to hire people who at least have a basic knowledge of the subject matter.

Workers can – and should be – trained, but this training will be so much easier if applicants can show an area-specific knowledge. Or, at least, the experience of learning difficult topics quickly. 

Education levels can be a useful indicator of this. If you need high-level analytical skills, look for those with higher education degrees in relevant subjects. If you are looking for those with more practical experience in the industry, applicants from apprenticeships and those with previous experience are beneficial. 

2) Good communicators

Communication skills are essential for any business. As a boss, you want workers who will understand your instruction and apply it in the way you want.

You want people who aren’t afraid to ask for clarification when they aren’t sure. You want people who know who to ask within the business, so you aren’t constantly acting as a mentor. 

3) Fast learners

For an efficient workforce, fast learners are crucial. You want to make the turnaround time with new employees as smooth and swift as possible. The faster you can meld them into the company, the faster they can get to producing efficient output. 

Many industries are quickly changing (especially with lockdown measures coming in across many countries). Fast learners, therefore, will be easily adaptable to new landscapes and scenarios. So even when they aren’t new to the company, they are flexible.

Many workers who have been with a company for a long time can get stuck in their ways, but in hiring fast learners, you are hiring years of easily adaptable workers. 

4) Variety

Recent years have seen a growing discussion around diversity in the workforce. Some take this as a frustrating addition to employment difficulties, but it is easy to see these measures in a positive light.

Variety can bring your workforce new ways of thinking, different skill sets and the development of workers through exposition. 

Disability can lead to workers who are good at thinking outside of the box. Women can often provide a perspective on the industry that is different from the male-dominated perspective. 

These differences are often what leads to your business standing out. Use them to your benefit. 

5) Loyalty

As a business owner, a frequent turnover of workers can become somewhat of a nightmare. You don’t want to spend all your time recruiting when you could be focusing on other aspects of your role as boss. 

But to keep staff, you need workers who are loyal. In interviews, make sure to ask why they have left their previous jobs. Look for how long they have stayed in different roles. When asking what they like about the job you are offering, does it sound like they are the kind of person who will commit long term

What can I do to help make my workforce better?

There’s only so much you can do when recruiting for your workforce. Once they’ve got the job, they may present themselves differently to how they did in the interview. Plus, you can never know how people will interact with one another.

Sometimes, workers meld well, and it helps the overall productivity of the business. Other times it can lead to inefficiency and poor relationships between workers. 

Due to this, once the workforce is hired, it is down to you as the boss to make sure the workforce is adapting smoothly and working well together.

Even if you want to make a workforce that has been running for decades more efficient – there are ways you can make changes within the business environment. Here are five suggestions.

1) Delegation

Delegation not only allows you as a business owner more time to spend on more pressing matters but can also lead to more efficiency in your workforce. 

Offering an opportunity for increased responsibility can often lead to individual workers stepping up. You can see the change in them – more serious, more focused, more efficient.

However, it is important to select the right workers for these positions. If you choose the wrong worker, it could lead to sloppier work. A decision like this will not only affect the workers you have chosen but the workers that then work under this delegation. 

2) Training

Your workers can’t get better if you don’t provide them with opportunities too. If they aren’t taught new ways of becoming efficient, you can’t expect your productivity levels to rise. 

Training can either be used to make your workers better at the jobs they are already doing or can provide them with new skills to open them up to other jobs. By diversifying the workforce, more efficiency can be built through the increase in those who can perform certain tasks. 

Training might be a costly expense, but it’s benefits are massive, and often long-lasting. If you have the financial ability, it is an invaluable resource. 

Providing training yourself might be best for small businesses, but often outsourcing training is the smartest way forward. 

3) Learning as a business owner

Once we have reached the top spot, it’s often easy to lie back and think you’ve made it. But if you want a profitable and efficient business, it is important to keep educating and training yourself like you are trying to rise up in the ranks. 

If we assume education and training is so important for our workers, why don’t we think it for ourselves? Anyway, we are, in a sense, employees of the company too. 

In order to promote efficiency in the workforce, a workforce management guide can be a good place to start. 

4) Bonding exercises

A workforce that blends seamlessly will provide the best work. You want your workers to be able to work well together; otherwise, there may become issues with communication, leading to greater problems in the business. 

Regular bonding exercises can be a great way to combat this. This could be just weekly trips to the pub or full-scale days spent on exercises. Whatever suits your business best. But this is a smart way to promote communication as well as good feeling in workers towards their jobs. The happier your workers feel at the jobs, the more likely they are to feel loyal and stay long term. 

5) Incentives and discipline

The classic donkey analogy. Does it respond best to the carrot or the stick? Well, some businesses will work one way best or the other (often depending on the workforce itself), but the smartest way is a healthy balance of both. 

Look to incentivise your workforce. Are there opportunities for promotion? You are unlikely to keep staff on long term if there is no room for them to grow professionally. If you don’t have the ability for promotions, think about offering professional development sessions, either through seminars or courses.