Real business story

Effective people management is key to safeguarding your business

Safeguarding a business and the quality of products or services being provided is critical to financial security. Failing to do so could lead to cash flow and profitability issues.
Simon Morris – Konnexx

Simon Morris believes having conversations with employees has helped create a culture of accountability and transparency

It’s not enough to simply have safeguards in place. A company owner needs to ensure they’re creating a culture of accountability and transparency where employees can help to recognise and mitigate risk.

Embrace change

Many companies have gone through a period of substantial change since the coronavirus pandemic began, which has thrown business leaders curveballs and presented new challenges.

Change isn’t necessarily a bad thing and should be embraced and seen as a learning opportunity, argued Simon Morris, managing director of telemarketing firm Konnexx.

In order to learn from change, however, business leaders need to be able to look carefully at how their business was affected and whether they could have better reacted to early warning signs.

This will help to identify areas of the business that need improving in order to reduce risk in the future.

The metrics we have in place mean we’re able to see if somebody’s not performing the way they should be, and we can deal with that quite quickly."

Simon Morris, MD, Konnexx

Open channels of communication with employees

Monitoring the performance of a company can be easier for some business types than others. In the case of Konnexx, Simon is able to judge how it’s faring based on the quantity and quality of calls being made on behalf of clients, as well as the feedback and appraisals received from those clients.

“The metrics we have in place mean we’re able to see if somebody’s not performing the way they should be, and we can deal with that quite quickly,” Simon said.

Whether performance is quantifiable or not, business owners should be actively engaging employees, he added. These conversations shouldn’t just be used to provide feedback on performance itself, but to understand from employees what’s working and what’s not.

Since shifting to remote working, the senior team at Konnexx regularly checks in with its staff to find out how they’re coping and whether there’s any support that can be provided. This helps Konnexx to ensure employees are all pulling in the same direction to meet not only their individual targets but those of the company’s.

Having conversations with employees helps to create a culture of accountability and transparency, Simon explained.

If channels of communication are left open and staff know they can express their problems freely, then it’s easier to identify potential issues before they escalate into something bigger. Encouraging their opinions leads to more effective decision-making and lessons can be learned to prevent similar issues from cropping up again in the future.

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Know when to step back

While it’s vital that business leaders lead from the front and play an active role in these conversations – especially in smaller companies where they’re more likely to be seen and heard – they should be regularly stepping back from the day-to-day running of the company as well.

“We [business owners] can spend a lot of time ‘doing’, when actually it’d be much better focusing on the strategic,” argued Simon.

Taking that step back allows business leaders to evaluate performance without the emotional investment. Doing so enables you to see the bigger, long-term picture with a clearer mind.

At the end of the day, while every business leader would love to increase the bottom line, employees need to be aligned with the long-term vision in order to safeguard the company and help it to achieve its goals.

Simon summed it up succinctly: “Finances are very important, but so are people performance and people management."

  • location: East Midlands (England)
  • business size: 10-49 People
  • business type: Professional services, finance & banking

Top three takeaways

It’s important to reflect on change and see how you could be better prepared in the future

Effective communication helps to create a culture of accountability and makes it easier to identify potential problems.

Being able to take a step away from the day-to-day running of the company means you can see what’s working and what’s not.