For any general manager or owner of a business, two essential objectives of staffing strategies must be considered to maintain a sustainable and successful business. First, employees should be adequately trained and motivated to maximize sales and profitability. Competent and reliable workers have significant impact on the success of small businesses, particularly when owners cannot be there 24/7. Second, turnover rates of employees should be relatively low. Hiring new staff members and then teaching them how to perform the task properly can be extremely costly and often frustrating. I’ve seen small businesses with turnover rates as high as 2-3 months, and needless to say, those businesses often closed their doors in a few years.
While there are a myriad ways to tackle these two issues, small businesses can especially benefit from a few fairly easy management techniques. The most important strategy is to direct your employees, specifically those that have direct interactions with consumers, to completely focus on the satisfaction of customers. This can be achieved through formal devices such as reward schemes based on customer satisfaction, regular surveys to customers, or informal practices such as regular management communication of customer service.
Encouraging and empowering employees to make impromptu decisions to maximize customer satisfaction can also be beneficial, when managed correctly (a child drops the ice cream on the floor as soon as it was bought, and the employee offers a new ice cream free of charge- then reports this to the owner/manager at the end of the day etc.). Witnessing and influencing customer satisfaction has been shown to be intrinsically motivating for employees, which increases morale and retention rates for your business.
On the other hand, sound operational and financial management of your small business is essential to maintain a sense of stability and focus for the employees. Other than your core management team (often your family or business partner), details about finances and key strategic actions should be kept mostly confidential. One of the most critical problems can occur when cash flows tighten (whether through temporary decrease in sales or due to investment in growth opportunities). The last thing employees want to think about is if they will be paid on time or not. To maximize sales potential and grow sustainably, small businesses should focus on managing their employees to concentrate on customer satisfaction and be carefree about other business factors. Of course, some workers may be interested in offering valuable suggestions, but they should not waste time worrying about your business decisions.