Stability in Business: More Than Dollars, It’s Sense
When talking about stability as it relates to business finance, the Cambridge Dictionary defines it as “a situation in which prices or rates do not change much.” From raw materials to employee benefit rates, managing and controlling expenses is important to maintain financial stability and viability, especially to small business owners.
But there is another meaningful stability owners may overlook, one that can affect the status quo even more profoundly: successful and confident employees.
Let’s consider another definition of this term where stability is “a situation in which something such as an economy, company, or system can continue in a regular and successful way without unexpected changes.” Like when you’re not there, or you’re dealing with another issue.
A way to foster and develop employees who have the skills to keep your business running smoothly, and build their confidence at the same time, is through ongoing, constructive performance feedback. This isn’t annual performance evaluations, it’s clear and meaningful direction that employees respond to positively and sets actionable goals for them to achieve.
It’s said that staff shouldn’t hear a performance-related criticism for the first time at a review. Instead, engaging regularly with employees to give both positive encouragement and proactive feedback can keep your business stable by being an opportunity for their own growth.
By building feedback into regular business practices, it can help reduce its stigma and become a tool for self-improvement. Be sure to take the time to choose appropriate language that supports your goal of helping employees improve, which will take practice and care.
Feedback vs. Criticism
“It’s easy to confuse feedback with criticism.” shares Mariana Garavaglia, Chief People Officer, Peloton Interactive. “We may worry that giving feedback will damage a relationship, be taken personally, or hurt someone’s feelings–so it may seem easier to hope the issue passes on its own (than) to provide feedback or address a problem proactively.”
You might want to start by sharing your own perspective, whether it’s a new or long-term employee. Talking about your own or other business leaders’ successes and setbacks creates an opening for dialogue and communicates that this is an opportunity for learning and not a reprimand for bad behaviour.
Allowing employees some time to think about what you’re saying can help them absorb your comments and give them a chance to ask questions. Be ready to listen, too, and to provide concrete examples with specific and achievable objectives to resolve the issues.
Accountability is Key
By the end of your conversation, you want to ensure employees know what needs improving, are accountable with appropriate goals and desired outcomes, and understand how their improved performance ties into the overall success of the business.
A smarter way to ensure long-term stability and motivated staff in your small business means looking beyond the dollars going out of the company. Keeping your business stable has a lot to due with how it’s run—like fostering a confident, successful staff to support you in your long-term goals. Sometimes, it just takes sense to make your business flourish.