“Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person – not just an employee – are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.” -Anne M Mulcahy
Being a school or studio owner can be the greatest job in the world. Maybe you don’t even think of it as a job. Your passion and love for your business is there. But what about your staff? What are their attitudes and actions telling you?
These types of questions are sometimes uncomfortable for school owners, but cannot be avoided. Improvements can always be made no matter how successful your business is. Staff satisfaction is important, just like your profits. Be careful to give both of these attention and not focus just on one.
Pay attention to your staff. If there is a problem, you may be the last one to hear it. The employees may all know about it long before you do, so try to stay on the look out for negative comments and attitudes for signs of discontent.
If there is a problem, the employee grapevine may know about it long before you do. Keep your ear to the ground for disgruntled comments and watch your employees’ attitudes for signs of discontent.
Mediate any issues between two employees. Allow a time for each party to say their side of the story. They say, there are two sides to every story and somewhere in between lies the truth. Follow this saying in mediations with your staff. Be unbiased and open to hearing both sides of the story without favoring one side or the other. Having “favorites” can create a number of different issues with your staff’s morale.
You and your managers can conduct periodic checks on the staff to evaluate their overall satisfaction. It can be as simple as buying them lunch or coffee and asking them how things are going. It could also be a little more structured with a one-on-one meeting or annual review.
Talk to your managers about being approachable and personal to the employees underneath them. Open communication allows employees to address their concerns and questions without fear of being judged. If the staff knows management listens to them, employees feel respected and can be more inclined to stay.
When you are concerned that your staff is becoming unhappy at work, the Harvard Business Review article “Employee Retention: What Managers Can Do” offers these changes in behavior to watch for:
- Coming in later or leaving earlier than usual.
- Withdrawing from extra projects.
- Declining performance, or doing just enough to get by.
- Complaints, especially from people who don’t usually complain.
- Wistful references to other companies.
- Nostalgic references to employees who have left.
- Talking about being ‘burned out.’
What procedures do you have set in place for your school or studio? Have you had success with any particular methods?