More and more staff within organisations are being asked to find income streams, and expected to be more enterprising and customer-focused. It is my belief that organisations need to enable a more enterprising mind-set within their employees in order for this to be achieved. This means empowering employees to make decisions for themselves – decisions that give customers the best experience possible and provide the solutions that will enable the company to move forward.
Why will your employees get involved?
I choose to believe that the majority of adults in the world who go to work are good people who wish to add value to the world. Yes we do go to work because we need money to survive, but money is not the reason that keeps us motivated and engaged with an employer.
Staff, on the whole, wish to make a difference in some small way, and have a positive impact on something or someone while they are at work. Yet many employers fail to provide them with the opportunities to add that value. Enabling staff to add value by being enterprising will, for many staff members, provide them with a sense of purpose, a reason to connect and feel engaged.
Why encourage enterprising employees?
People are the lifeblood of your business, it is vital that you consider how they can help that business, company, organisation, or charity to grow, or indeed for many just to become more stable and sustainable. By encouraging staff to be enterprising you are asking them to consider new ideas, different ways of doing things and being more aware of the needs of clients and the commercial needs of the organisation.
This is about everyone being involved in business development and not just the senior team. I have seen senior executives exhausted from coming up with new ideas, initiatives, or projects, which they then have to sell to their staff in order to make them happen. From the other side, I see staff members who wish to help, have ideas, and would like to be more involved, but when they try they are pushed back and told this is for the senior team, the board or the CEO to sort out.
Yet time and time again, I am told by CEOs, MDs, and Chairmen that the staff don’t understand—that they don’t see. “Why don’t they come up with some ideas for once?” I hear. Communication issues and patterns of behaviour, which let’s be honest, have been learnt over generations of workers, are now hindering the future of organisational growth.
Leaders remember a past when senior staff came up with the ideas, and junior staff accepted them and made them happen. However, they need to adopt a future where ideas can come from anywhere, anyone can make them happen, and everyone can reap the rewards. Junior staff remember a past when if they had ideas and took them to their leaders, they were rejected or even sacked. If the ideas were taken forward and failed, then they were blamed and possibly sacked. This made them feel apprehensive to step up in the future—instead it made them want to blend in. Employees need to feel safe, feel like part of a team, and feel that their ideas are just as valuable as anyone else’s.
For me, the answer is clear—real staff engagement. Not the kind of staff engagement where you offer them a bottle of wine for money-saving ideas or cinema tickets for securing a project. I mean real engagement where staff at all levels are able to input into the development of the company. A company that learns and grows together by embracing a culture of enterprise within its day to day running. An organisation that works as a whole team, with honest and open communication so that everyone knows what they can do to help.
If you are looking to the future as a manager or leader, then I truly believe you need to embrace a culture of enterprise to be successful. If you are yet to be a manager or leader but wish to follow that path, then understanding enterprise within a company will help you stand out from the rest. You could be the one who shows your current employer what they have been missing out on by sticking so closely to the hierarchical approach of yesteryear.