Huffington Post recently published an article highlighting small business innovations that big business should adapt for future success. It stated, “According to PwC’s ‘Future of Work’ study, which surveyed over 1,300 workers and 200 C-level executives, employees at small businesses are significantly happier than their counterparts at larger corporations are, thanks to less red tape, more flexible work arrangements, closer-knit company cultures – not to mention the latest communications technologies helping to make those workplace communities a reality.”
With the combination of technology and start-ups, more people are questioning the way business has been done and how it can be improved. What was once thought of as laziness or lack of aggression, is now being seen as balance and greater productivity. When businesses put their employees first, they notice happier workers and better results. “These feelings of meaning, satisfaction and independence can lead to greater productivity and innovation on the part of workers, and big businesses are taking note.”
Technology plays a major role in the success of worker happiness by creating the workplace of the future. “Now, with the help of data-sharing platforms and collaboration tools, enterprises are achieving the best of both worlds: the intimacy and personal touch of the small-business approach, expressed across an international organization and bolstered by deep pockets… By emulating the perceived benefits of smaller companies, these big firms are boosting employee morale and productivity, as well as increasing satisfaction among workers and customers.”
What exactly are these technologies and how can your company utilize them?
- Communication Tools:
- Opening the lines of communication between your employees creates a more relaxed environment, which makes it easier for work to be done. A good way to do this, besides company email and instant messaging, is a private social media system, like Yammer, that is unique to your company. This allows people to share more of their personal side, interact with one another and build friendships and connections that will only benefit the company. If employees have the capability to speak with coworkers across the country, they can build relationships, which will lead to better working relationships. This also builds loyalty to the company and strengthens the team. According to the article, 85% of Fortune 500 companies utilize a private social networking tool.
- Working from Home:
- “Working from home means fundamentally tipping the scales of work-life balance in favor of quality of life.” Working from home eliminates the stress and hassle of a commute, makes it easier for parents to keep their children during the day and allows people to enjoy the things they work so hard to earn. Technology such as video conferencing, email, text and phone calls allow employees to be connected from anywhere, giving people the freedom to work in the environment that best suits them. With the right employees, it also tends to make them more committed and loyal to their company because they appreciate the freedom they have been given and do not want to mess that up. Plus, it shows that the company cares about their employee’s overall well-being and is willing to invest in them and trust them. C-suite executives may be delightfully surprised by their ROI with this concept.
- Cultivate a Start-Up Mentality:
- Something that some big businesses have already been doing is following the lead of start-up companies and nurturing the creative, out-of-the-box thinking style within certain departments in order to yield better results. Wildly successful start-ups like Netfilx, airbnb and Uber have proven that it’s the idea, not the size of the business, that is going to earn money. Stuffy, business-as-usual types can no longer function at the top level of the business world without at least bringing in more creatives to help them grow and expand. According to the article, enterprise services, like GitHub Enterprise, help facilitate collaborative coding. This keeps the entrepreneurial feel alive, while also organizing projects and helping users increase efficiency.
- Stay Connected with Employees:
- “…A happy employee is a productive employee. And productive equals profitable: There’s a considerable payoff for an employer if she can figure out the magical formula for worker satisfaction.” The article goes on to state that small businesses can easily keep up with how their employees are feeling by just checking in and staying engaged, but admittedly, that is harder for big businesses to do. The cure? Employee satisfaction apps like Niko Niko. Incorporating easy-to-use apps that allow employees to quickly vote on whether the company needs a change or not, allows companies to easily compile responses and move forward from there. Currently, many companies have something like an end of the year survey, but it often comes at a time when employees are busy and don’t feel like they have time to answer a 10-page document full of vague questions that include answers such as “strongly disagree, disagree, slightly disagree” and so on. Using an app is a much faster and easier way for employees and employers to stay connected and on the same page about satisfaction and productivity.
- Humanize Your Customers:
- “According to PwC’s ‘Putting Purpose to Work’ survey, both consumers and employees want to hear about an organization’s purpose and impact via social media.” Everyone wants that personal connection, to feel that they matter and aren’t just another dollar in someone’s pocket. Using technology to build relationships with clients, and listening to them to truly learn their preferences, helps companies succeed in the long run. After getting to know a client via phone calls, emails, video conferencing and more, companies will know how they prefer to be dealt with. Some may be old school and prefer a call, only connecting when business matters are at hand, while some may prefer a quick email just saying hi to keep in touch. Each client is unique and big businesses will love how they see their company growing when they treat customers like people and not numbers.
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