No man is an island and every entrepreneur needs employees to help run their business smoothly and grow their brand. Picking the right and essential employees for your fashion business starts right from the interview stage.
Sometimes, however, even after doing the right things, fashion entrepreneurs still find that employee morale is low and some employees become difficult.
This week, we spoke with Human Resources Management Consultant, Nkechi Martyns, on ways fashion entrepreneurs can keep morale high among staff members and how to handle difficult employees.
Mrs Nkechi Martyns is a Human Resources Management Consultant with over 7 years experience in personnel development, motivation, and management. A BSc holder in Business Administration, she focuses on human relations and its effects on productivity within an organisation.
Over the years, Mrs Martyns has engaged in various structural reviews for organisations in the energy sector and helped teams/departments recognise their roles in the organisation and how their input contributes to the goals of the organisation.
How can Fashion Entrepreneurs Effectively Sell Their Business Vision to Their Employees?
1. Have a Simple and Clear Vision.
The first step to selling your business vision to your employees as a fashion entrepreneur is to have a simple and clear vision. This vision is a clear path you want the company to thread.
When your employees understand clearly the path the company is threading, they will better be able to own it.
2. Live the Vision Out
They say it is better to lead by example. When you constantly live out the vision of the company, it is easy for employees to understand and emulate.
3. Break it Down
As you live out your vision, you need to break it down into smaller steps that are easier to follow. And if you want to make it more exciting, add some incentives or rewards for staff members who show remarkable commitment to the vision.
How Does Employee Morale Affect the Performance of the Business?
“Where employees have a positive attitude to the job, it affects productivity and helps build a good sense of ownership.”
The people of any business are a major contribution to the success of the business. From the Hawthorne theory on Motivation, we find that productivity increased not because of an increase in money but because of employees’ attitude and behaviour.
How Can Fashion Entrepreneurs Constantly keep the Morale of their Employees at a High?
“It is possible for fashion entrepreneurs to constantly keep their employees’ morale at a high.”
Keeping the morale of your employees high as a fashion entrepreneur can be achieved through the following steps;
1. Simplify the Vision
When your brand’s vision is too complex and ambiguous, it is easy for employees to become discouraged in trying to live up to it. Simplifying the business vision helps them know they can take steady steps in the direction of the vision and this helps keep their morale high.
2. Run an Open and Flexible System
“Remember, employees are more committed to the job when they feel valued, so welcome ideas and opinions.”
Everyone likes to know that their opinions count and that they are heard and valued by those around them. When you run an open and flexible system that welcomes ideas and opinions from every employee, they tend to be happier working.
3. Introduce Incentives and Rewards, If Possible
Everyone loves that occasional pat on the back that tells them that they have done a great job. As a way to keep your employees’ morale at a constant high, you can introduce incentives and rewards, if possible, as a way of saying, ‘well done’.
4. Have Team Bonding Activities
A team that is comprised of friends works better than most others. To keep morale high amongst your staff members, you should have team bonding activities.
These activities do not have to be anything elaborate, it could be as simple as a TGIF hang out, drinking competition, or design challenge (it is a fashion house after all 😎) just to get your staff members to have a good time together.
In cases where employees’ morale takes a dip, however, to help bring their morale back up again, you, as the business owner, should first find out from the staff directly what the problem is. Next, you need to ensure staff are properly engaged – not just in terms of their job description but to finding out if they feel like they are part of the team.
How Can Fashion Entrepreneurs Handle Difficult Employees?
“I’m not sure there is a difficult employee, but there are disengaged employees who are not motivated, have no understanding of the company vision, or worse off, are getting other employees to see his or her point of view. Where this affects delivery on the job and relations with other staff or clients, we have ourselves a staff who does not understand the vision.”
In handling such employees, you need to take the steps listed in keeping staff morale high and if the employee remains disengaged, it is time to decide if he/she is worth keeping or letting go of. Other options might be to transfer that employee to another department or branch (where applicable).
You may also have to discuss your expectations with that staff member and give a probationary period to see if there will be improvements.
“When the culture of the business is already clear and understood, from the beginning, by all staff, it will be easy to point out a defaulter.”
If this employee happens to be one you have sentimental attachments to, you need to decide if this particular employee is worth disrupting the culture that has been built in your fashion brand. Also, it will be easy to address, as the vision is already clear to all, so anyone going out of line can be easily brought to order with no hard feelings.
What Role can Fashion Entrepreneurs Play to Make the Job Easier and Ever Exciting for Their Employees?
In addition to doing everything listed above on keeping staff morale high, fashion entrepreneurs can also;
1. Rotate Responsibilities
Rotating the responsibilities of staff members and giving each a feel of what others are doing is a good way to keep your employees excited. Now, this does not mean rotating roles that do not, in any way, relate to one another, but rotating roles among staff that each one can handle effectively.
2. Be Open to New Ideas
Being open the ideas your employees bring forward to you is a sure way to make their job easier because sometimes they have great ideas that, if implemented, will benefit everyone.
3. Be Involved
Never be detached from the operations of your fashion business but always be actively involved in everything that goes on.
In closing, Mrs Martyns said, ‘Keep the Vision alive by your style, on the walls, in the group and basically at the heart of the company.’