Every year at people2people on Melbourne Cup Day, being the first Tuesday in November, the entire company goes offsite for Strategy Day. We have been doing this since we started business in 2005, and every year it has resulted in changes that are subsequently implemented in the business. The reason I mention our Strategy Day is that it represents one of the most powerful tools available to management in a small business: sharing! I know that some business owners, managers and bosses believe that they are the designated 'mein fuhrer' of their team. Kim Jong Un has nothing on some of the managers I have recruited for in my time. It's a classic failure of management to assume that they are right and expect everyone to follow their instructions mindlessly. Instead, in my experience, both as a manager and a recruiter, the managers who are willing to collaborate and share get the best from their teams.
Sometimes the sharing of information seems counter intuitive, for example, the disclosure of financial information of the company. Some managers and owners think that this is highly confidential and that sharing this information with staff will lead to the entire market 'knowing their business'. At people2people, we share this information habitually, every year. We even invite in a third party expert, who benchmarks our performance against 120 other recruitment firms in Australia. This is shared with the entire company, not just the senior management team.
The numbers are sometimes good and, in some cases, they demonstrate significant areas of and for improvement. This sharing of information leads to increased employee participation and a sense of ownership and engagement that is not possible through other incentives.
Through sharing and then asking for discussion and ultimately suggestions for improvement, the staff feel more of a connection with and ownership of the success of the company. As a business owner, you also feel more connected with your people. It may sound like a motherhood statement, but everyone acts more like a family or a tribe and works together to achieve a shared success. Everyone identifies with the company and its journey through time, with the resultant successes and failures. Incentives are more than buying your staff a beer or gift card. They may give you a short term lift, but sharing information and decision making leads to a much longer term gain.