According to the SBA, small businesses make up 99.7% of US employer firms and 64% of US job growth. Clearly we live in a country that embraces entrepreneurialism. Unfortunately, only 50% of US small businesses survive 5 years or more.
While there are many opportunities and challenges for small businesses, few are as common as finding, leading and keeping great people. Talented employees represent an opportunity and challenge for small business owners. Handled properly, great people can lead to sustainable growth. Otherwise, problems tend to ensue.
How can a business owner maximize the opportunity for having sustainable growth through talented people? The key is to create an environment that develops happy and productive people.
As this graph indicates, ‘happy’ and ‘productive’ must go together in order to have sustainable growth. If you have neither, the end is near. If you have high productivity but unhappy employees, turnover will be high which will eventually erode productivity. If you have happy employees but low productivity, profitability will suffer. It is only by achieving both that growth can be sustainable.
Most business owners are adept at figuring out how to raise productivity for their particular business. Doing so while creating a culture where people are happy can be a bit trickier. According to Gallup’s employee engagement surveys, only 32% of employees are engaged at work (involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work). Disengaged employees do not promote higher productivity. So what is a business owner to do?
A great formula to use is to: have great people (current and future employees) who are aligned to the company purpose/mission + make sure each has the opportunity to use their strengths on the job + help each realize their career goals while helping the company succeed.
While this formula for creating a winning culture is understandable and logical, there are a lot of moving parts – like recruiting, on-boarding, training, managing, motivating, retaining, etc.. A strategic, aligned and intentional approach to executing the pieces/parts of the formula provides the best chance of success. We recommend developing a Strategic Talent Plan as a guide. Click here for access to our free guide to creating a Strategic Talent Plan. Armed with a well written and executed Strategic Talent Plan, business owners can dramatically increase their likelihood of success.
For additional help creating your plan, please contact me. We are happy to help.