To increase productivity and reduce the effect of distractions many managers set out a rule book; the do’s and don’ts within the business environment. Whilst there must be standards and the laws of the land are to be adhered to, enforcing too stringent measures leads to low morale and employees feeling that they are not trusted and are under constant surveillance.
As unnecessary strictness impacts negatively it would be appropriate to address the problem positively. However, when experience and wisdom are lacking, or ego prevails, a manager may seek to resolve apparent disobedience and complaints by creating more rules.
This is a costly error, one that could have been avoided if you’d contacted a small business mentor who would have assessed the situation, the morale, productivity and staff retention levels and, in all likelihood urged you to remove the rules which were proving counterproductive.
You need to strike the balance between the do’s and don’ts and maintaining staff trust and morale. An unhappy workforce is less productive and their sense of loyalty and goal achievement becomes minimal. Your SME can become crippled.
Small business mentors including Peter Smith, who primarily works with SME’s and as a consultant for Thames Valley Business Advisors, have years of worthwhile expertise and experience to draw on. This is invaluable when you aren’t confident that your strategies are effective or you feel that the rules are justified and so should be working for you and you can’t comprehend why they aren’t. Small business mentors can explain why the rulebook mentality is flawed when overused and advise on how to maintain discipline and efficiency without negativity arising in the workforce.
There can be no deviation from the law but in-house rules can be modified or withdrawn for maximum benefits. A professional advisor has the ability to look from the outside in which management don’t; a fresh pair of eyes and a revised approach could be exactly what your operation needs to realise its potential.
In August 2017 CX Library published the results of their 1000-person survey and these five rule areas were most galling to the participants:
- Toilet breaks: Asking permission to go to the toilet or being timed.
- Dress code: Often a contentious area. Respondents noted people being sent home for even trivial dress code violations.
- Verbal communication: There are enterprises in the UK which tell staff when they are allowed to talk to one another and when no communication is mandatory.
- Late policies: Whilst every SME must have a late policy, these can be too firm. For example, being two minutes late and docked a quarter of the day’s pay.
- Beverages: Some companies place limits on the amounts and choices of beverages permitted or state when and where they must be consumed.
Mentoring the business’ decision makers is far more successful than rules and seemingly petty limitations. Remember, stringent rules don’t factor in the variables and nuances of running a business and ensuring that its staff feel valued.
Why not speak to a small business mentor like Peter Smith today?