Skip to main content

Andrew Reid, founder of Big Fish Interactive, a Toronto-based corporate training firm focused on leadership, business coaching and team building, says employees can help increase productivity and drive revenue.

It's been a tough year for many small businesses, so cash and how to get more of it flowing is a hot topic. What business owners might not think of immediately is asking their own staffs for help.

Andrew Reid, founder of Big Fish Interactive, a Toronto-based corporate training firm focused on leadership, business coaching and team building, says employees can help increase productivity and drive revenue.

One of the best and most practical tactics that management can take is to invite the full participation of each staff member, Mr. Reid says. Once employees see their contributions to efficiencies and the bottom line, they can better understand the difference they can make to themselves and the company.

Story continues below advertisement

"The key word is to invite," Mr. Reid says. "Ask employees: 'How can you see your own strengths contributing to the task at hand? What choices can you make that feel purposeful and connected?' "

Managers should make such requests in a way that is engaging, he says.

Andrew Reid How employees can boost the bottom line

"You don't need to show everything, but you need to show them enough of the company's bottom-line results connected to their personal contribution, especially in things like cash flow, performance and profitability," Mr. Reid says. "It's important for managers to empower employees with a sense of ownership so they feel that they can change results."

If employees don't know exactly how a business works they could be spinning their wheels working extra hours for nothing.

"We've seen employees be surprised about not getting their bonuses when they've really been cranking the hours and feel burned out by the end of the week," Mr. Reid says. "What they didn't have was an awareness of cash flow or how profitable the company was."

If employees have been doing a lot of what Mr. Reid calls "firefighting" – dealing with immediate workplace crises – it creates the illusion of effectiveness because everyone is busy. "Firefighting creates nothing new and burns profits," Mr. Reid says.

Story continues below advertisement

"One of my favourite catchphrases is, 'The way I set it up is how it ends up,' " Mr. Reid says. "Set up the intentions and expectations clearly at the beginning of a project. If I set myself up to be bottom-line [oriented]and profitability-focused and understand my role, even if it's a small one, and how I can contribute to that, then you've got me as a committed employee."

He recommends a systematic approach that includes individual coaching. A manager could ask employees questions such as: What would be the same and what would be different if you were better engaged in how you do what you do? How could you be better focused and more effective in meeting the needs of the customer?

Employee recognition and rewards are also key. People want to be recognized for their increased effort or change of focus, Mr. Reid says. That doesn't necessarily have to be a cash bonus – what's important is for managers to notice what people do and thank them for the effort.

Another benefit of increasing employee engagement is retention. It's expensive for companies to lose their superstars.

"I've never met a fully engaged employee who leaves," Mr. Reid says. "People don't leave relationships that are working, whether it's romantic or business. It's the same thing. We only look elsewhere when we feel unfulfilled."

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

If your comment doesn't appear immediately it has been sent to a member of our moderation team for review

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading…

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.