Today marks the start of Small Business Advice Week (5-9 September 2016), an annual awareness campaign which seeks to to help the country’s 4.5 million SMEs thrive in tough times, with advice from leading experts and businesses across Britain.
The research group within Advanced Workplace Associates (AWA), Workplace Performance Innovation Network (PIN), in partnership with a global network of academics from the Centre for Evidence Based Management (CEBMa), has undertaken an extensive study involving a review of over 800 research papers in order to discover the factors that have been proven to enhance the productivity of knowledge workers.
To mark the 2016’s campaign, the change management workplace consultants at AWA has offered small business owners six tips to improve staff performance:
1) We get by with a little help from our friends
Create a work environment that encourages social cohesion. If people get on with each other, they will be more comfortable sharing their ideas and knowledge. Make people feel safe in saying their piece regardless of the seniority or importance of others.
2) Ensure people have access to support if they need it
People need to feel that the person they report to is positively supporting them achieve their personal and professional objectives. Consider whether the supervisors in your company need any further training when it comes to proactively developing professional relationships with team members, providing coaching and support to help people become the best that they can be.
3) Sharing’s caring
Ensure teams are able to pool and access company-wide expertise by establishing and driving a culture and internal infrastructure that will allow for the sharing of knowledge. Allow people to find out who has what experience, capture this knowledge in a system or a ‘knowledge register’, and re-enforce sharing by rewarding productive behaviours, regardless of seniority, power or personality.
4) Give everyone a sense of purpose
For people to be emotionally engaged with the work they do, they need to possess common understanding of personal, team and enterprise objectives and display high commitment to these goals. In short, managers need to create meaning and purpose for each and every member of staff, as a company is only as good as the people it employs.
5) Break the bubble
Too often people spend their time at work cocooned in their owl little bubbles. Encourage people to expose themselves to the views and experiences of diverse groups of people outside their team and organisation in order to shape their ideas, fuel innovation and to maintain vigour.
6) It’s all about trust
People need to feel that those around them will act in their interest, that the knowledge they contribute will be used responsibly and in their interests, and that they can depend on the knowledge, advice, skills and abilities of their colleagues. In order to encourage a companywide belief in the reliability, truth or ability of others, it’s important to foster social and professional collaboration.
Speaking about the research, Andrew Mawson, MD of AWA, said:
“We believe that when the leaders of businesses, both local and large, understand these factors, they will be able to reap the awards.
“Our hope is that this bulletproof research will help boost the UK’s SME business performance.”