So, you’ve got a range of unique food products that are super popular, a high number of loyal customers, and a steady flow of revenue coming in. You are well on your way to a thriving business! But it's important to realise that the success of your food business doesn’t just come down to these factors. If you want to solidify your success you also need to focus on your most important assets - your staff.
Keeping your people happy and motivated whilst working results in numerous benefits that can help you secure your business’s success. We know that tangible things like salary and bonus potential generally play a big role when a person is deciding where to work, but the intangible things like happiness, respect, and a positive working environment become more important once they get there.
Below are the top reasons why happy staff are critical to the success of your food business:
1. HAPPY STAFF ARE MORE PRODUCTIVE: When you value your staff and provide them with a fun and positive workplace environment, they become more committed to their roles and will do their very best to finish their tasks quickly and efficiently.
In a study conducted by economists at the University of Warwick, it was revealed that happiness leads to 12% increase in productivity. “We find that human happiness has large and positive causal effects on productivity. Positive emotions appear to invigorate human beings,” the research team said.
2. HAPPY STAFF ARE MORE LIKELY TO STAY: Losing a talented baker or hardworking kitchen crew will negatively affect not just your production but also your entire business. One way to keep them wanting to work for you is to ensure that they are motivated and smiling. According to Evren Esen of Society for Human Resource Management, an employee who feels satisfied and valued is more productive and is more likely to stay longer with a company, which diminishes turnover costs.
3. HAPPY STAFF ARE MORE POSITIVE: Employees who are happy have a “can-do” attitude that helps your business succeed. Not only that, they are more willing to support and work hand in hand with their fellow employees, too. It's these kind of hires that promote positivity and inspiration inside the work place.
4. HAPPY STAFF ARE MORE CREATIVE: Did you know that when we're not happy, our brains are more likely to disengage and therefore decrease our creativity and critical thinking? According to International leadership advisor Annie Mckee, there are evident neurological links between thoughts, feelings, and actions.
“We don’t process information as well, think creatively, or make good decisions,” she explained. “Frustration, anger, and stress cause an important part of us to shut down – the thinking, engaged part. Disengagement is a natural neurological and psychological response to pervasive negative emotions.”
When your people are happy, they can solve problems more effectively and can even come up with winning ideas. Remember, in the food and beverage industry, innovation is vital in order to keep up with the strong competition. You need staff that are not only inspired but also creative so you can all work together for success.
5. HAPPY STAFF LEAD TO HAPPY CUSTOMERS: If you’ve been in the food industry for many years, you will have noticed that most of the time, customers are happy when they interact with staff who are also happy. This is not only because emotions are contagious but also because happier staff are more cheerful, more hospitable, and are more likely to treat customers well. Australian entrepreneur Gerry Harvey of Harvey Norman maintains, “happy workers mean happy customers”. And what do happy customers result in? Repeat sales and a healthy turnover.
Having happy employees along with a positive workplace can have a significant impact on your food business. But the question now is, how can you make and keep your people happy?
There are many strategies you can implement to increase employee happiness at work. And it goes beyond the usual "free coffee" gimmicks. One effective way is to recognise your staff’s effort and contribution. Of course one way to do that is to give your staff the tangible benefits that they want, i.e promotions, salary raises and bonuses. But most importantly, it’s vital that they feel empowered, heard and appreciated.
It doesn't take much to set up an "Employee of the Month" program that recognises your hardworking employees - those who go the extra mile for a customer, or solve a production problem, or land a big dollar deal. Not only will it recognise hard work it will also motivate others in your team to give it their all.
It's also important that you give your staff the autonomy to do their job. As Kyle Emich of the University of Delaware says, "No one likes going to a job where they are told what to do and how to act every second of the day. They want to feel like their input is valued and they can help shape their own destiny by being free to offer their opinions and sometimes take risks."
Additionally, you can also make your staff happier by providing them with the tools and equipment that they need to make their day-to-day tasks easier. A full work day is already busy enough; don’t make it harder for your people by expecting them to work without the right tools for the job. Think about investing in tools like POS systems, order management systems, and inventory software to increase their productivity and make their work life much easier.
The success of your business depends not only on your product range and the customer experience you offer but also on how motivated and happy your employees are. Because at the end of the day they are important and valuable assets that can either make or break your business!
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