After working intimately with a vast number of small, fast growing businesses over the past two years here is what I can tell you.
The best run businesses have both structure and autonomy. They have enough structure in place to operate the business such as organizational structure and the basics of everyone’s jobs are defined. These employers have an employee handbook with the simple rules of employment however, they don’t get overly concerned with every detail. There is enough room for autonomy, innovation and flexibility in terms of reporting and leadership structure. Employees feel empowered to think of new, better ways of doing business and ultimately serving the customer. Ideas are given proper weight and not just swept under the rug.
Employers reward top performance with some sort of rewards and recognition system. This can come in many forms and no two companies will have the same system. Some will have a structured pay-for-performance system while others will give annual non-monetary recognition awards. The point is that all of these employers are encourage their workforce to strive, reach farther and engage in the businesses overall success.
Finally, they play. Keen Footwear announced in 2011 a new Instant Recess program encouraging all employers to reap the benefits of adding a 10 minute recess program. The benefits? Increased productivity, decreased health care costs, decreased turnover, increased morale, decreased workers compensation claims and finally a ROI of 1.5 to 1. For every minute an employee invests in recess they get a 1.5 ROI in terms of productivity. Play can officially be defined by Dr. Stuart Brown, an acclaimed medical research who founded the National Institute for Play, as ‘Real play has no real purpose. You do it for its own sake. It’s voluntary.’ Several of my clients by the nature of their work have play built into their day-to-day work. Others work to add this level of fun but regardless the best employers add play to their work culture.
Amy McGeachy is an expert human resources consultant and partner for businesses throughout Washington and Oregon. As president and founder of McGeachy Consulting, she serves fast-growing businesses in diverse fields, from health care to hospitality. She is a certified Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and a member of the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM); she is also a certified career coach through the Coach Training Alliance (CTA) and is a member of the International Coach Federation (ICF).