Virgin Air founder Richard Branson always the emphasis in “satisfied employees bring satisfied customer”. This sentence brings a deeper meaning, which means business owners should design work life that brings a better life for their employee, it shall also mean, employee can gain sense of achievement and satisfaction through the designed workflow and environment. In an ideal situation, satisfied employees will be reflected in the following situations:
- Honoured by the success of the company/organization;
- Showing stability in work and following procedural steps, especially under stress by heavy workload;
- Employees are more willing to work overtime and even take the initiative to complete the work;
- Easy to communicate with the boss, willing to take the initiative to understand the future development and decision-making of the company;
- Less being frustrated by either customer problems, work or environmental issues;
- There are objective and reasonable criteria for the achievement of work, without prejudice or extreme self-evident;
- Improve productivity and response in increasing salary.
Let me bring 1 case study. Recently, there is a Business Owner who has over 20 years of experience in the restaurant business. The most important role a restaurant business is the chef that works in the kitchen, and also the senior managers that take care of the front line. In the past days, these senior employees neither worry about the company’s turnover, nor think about the company’s development, but just waiting for their salary monthly. These chefs and senior staffs receiving a decent salary and welfare from the company (strictly better than the salary and welfare of managers in some SME company), yet still performing in lack of initiative and enthusiasm. The owners once thought that it was due to human laziness. However, after several months of efforts to change the company system, these senior employees not only began to actively participate in the company’s development but also increase the frequency of communication with the business owner. Recently, the headquarters office has been set up for future development purposes. Although it costs a lot to invest in design and decoration, while these senior employees sit in meeting in the formal conference room, these senior employees show deeper involvement during discussion, they raise creative ideas compare to the past. At meanwhile, a senior employee that is more aggressive, begun to discuss their direction vs organization directly with the owners.
The results presented from the above case are a reflection of improving employee satisfaction of new working experience out from the company’s development. The biggest change is that we do put forward a set of career planning for these employees, successfully hook up an individual career wishes and corporate direction.
There are many aspects to ensure a successful implementation of a career plan. First, companies should re-organize their organizational structure and design positions. Most SME owners often think that they are small and their company doesn’t need too many jobs position. On the contrary, designing of the job position is just to prepare for future development (it may not need now but in the future), and the position is properly arranged (although there is no such people and job requirements) providing hope and expectations for future vacant positions. To make the arranged position to come true, it is necessary to set a scientific assessment method for promotion. Scientific assessment means the definition of skills and knowledge that is needed for the designed job position (doesn’t mean the longest working period with the company has top priority to be promoted), as well as to define performance requirements for the designed position. Of course, training is one of the parts that can’t be missed. The result of the above case is that the business owner shifted employee meetings to our weekly meeting for a period of six months. In the meeting, employees are led to speak out, despite that, they also learn and improve others skills and knowledge while participating in discussions. Most important was, employees able to feel the urgency and seriousness of the founder of the company’s growth matters. On the other hand, we set up an assessment system that can objectively assess behavioural standards. A two-pronged approach, let the staff know very well the new working rules, at this stage of implementation, every employee is given a fair chance of achieving a better working entitlement with the condition is that the employees are self-willingly to fight for, companies shall not assist or making the decision on behalf of employees. I once heard a complaint from a business owner saying that he invested a lot of resources in an employee on self-development so that this employee equipped higher-level skills and knowledge that can be promoted (because he is a good employee). Later, he realized that it was not the life that the employee wanted, resources that invested go wasted.
In career planning, the management focus is different between the service and manufacturing industry. Normally, people will think that it is due to failing of supervision and control, but in fact, is the different industry has a different style. In the service industry, shall focus on education and encouragement. Solely because people work in the service industry most of the time by needs of completing a task, will have to work out from the ordinary work scope, which means that their work scope is not limited to the job written in the job description. Increasing education or training allowed the employee to equip better knowledge, therefore, able to have independent thinking and results in better performance. In manufacturing, jobs are designed in a specified manner, workers are required to more professional in a job that is delegated to them. Under this type of environment, supervision and control are more fit into management manner to ensure the output of the work is standardized and deliveries fulfil the quality standard.
The above sharing is just one part of behind-the-scenes planning, it shall include define management process and procedures, as well as define promotion criteria together with salary and welfare structure, to make the complete set of career planning.