How your leaders (and line managers) communicate and behave has a huge impact on the shape of your family business company culture. For family-owned businesses in particular, there is such a close connection between the owners and the business that sometimes it can be difficult to take a step back and look at what it might be like for their employees to work there.
However, if there’s any misalignment between the culture you communicate and the culture your employees experience via their leaders then you have a problem. Your leaders need to ‘walk the talk’.
For example, if your culture clearly states that an excellent customer experience is central to all that you do but the leader of the customer service department is more focused on measuring the number of calls handled per day than customer experience, you have a disconnect which will impact on the engagement of your employees.
Beverley Mitchell, the founder of Beverley Mitchell Consulting Ltd has identified 12 ways for managers to positively impact employee engagement in your family business.
Provide Clear Direction & Purpose
1. Ensure that every member of your team knows how their individual role links to and impacts on the overall success of team and the business as a whole.
2. Set clear expectations for each member of your team; explain what great performance looks like not just in terms of what needs to be achieved but the behaviours used to achieve it.
Understand What Motivates Your Team
1. Get to know your team as individuals; learn what motivates them, how they like to be recognised and what their aspirations are.
2. Create opportunities for team members to put forward ideas and share their opinions and ensure that you provide feedback on those.
Provide Regular Feedback & Recognition
1. Provide timely recognition to team members when they demonstrate great performance.
2. Provide your team members with timely, constructive and motivating feedback.
3. Have frequent conversations, both informal and formal, with your team members.
Provide Opportunities For Development
1. Be open to allowing your team members to take on new responsibilities and support them to learn new skills.
2. Look for ways to align responsibilities within the team to the strengths and talents of the individuals.
Create The Right Environment
1. Treat your team members with respect
2. Promote an environment of openness and honesty within your team
3. Provide opportunities for team members to meet socially
About the Author - Beverley Mitchell has been working in or alongside family businesses for most of her career and has personally experienced the high levels of engagement and commitment that a strong family business culture can inspire. She set up Beverley Mitchell Consulting Ltd (BMC) in early 2015 to help family businesses to leverage their unique culture to drive engagement across every level and in every area of their business. Beverley’s approach is one of partnership and collaboration and she uses her personal, intuitive and pragmatic style to create tailored solutions which drive both business growth and staff engagement and retention.