Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

It Takes Effort to Make Employees Work Better, Harder

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

It Takes Effort to Make Employees Work Better, Harder

Article excerpt

As any entrepreneur knows, employees can make or break your business.

Even with all that the latest and greatest technology offers, small-business owners must attract, motivate and retain good employees.

Owners of small and mid-sized businesses who recently met at a Business Practices symposium sponsored by Arthur Andersen's Enterprise Group reported that building a successful team is one of their most critical challenges.

"Within today's leading companies, there is a growing understanding that you don't hire `employees,' you hire `team members,' " said Nancy Pechloff, director of the Enterprise Group.

"Building teams can be challenging for emerging companies because often the owner or top executive takes on the responsibility of growing the business," she said.

"In the new paradigm, effective leaders motivate and empower a group of people to enthusiastically work toward common objectives, learn from each other and contribute to the business' growth."

Few business owners - as well as employees - would likely argue with that. Those who participated in the symposium agreed that companies seeking to grow need employees who can solve problems as well as sell a product or service.

But just how do you hire, inspire, train and retain the employee who will understand your goals and act to serve your customers?

"For a company to attract prospective candidates in a fairly competitive environment it's important for a small business to have a strong vision for the company that they can communicate and get their people to buy into," said Laurence Hayward, a consultant.

"If you're with a company that you believe has a strong vision and prospects for growth, you're certainly likely to be willing to take the risk and make the effort for long-term success," he said.

While the importance of communicating that vision is significant, practical issues like training, compensation and the belief that every employee can make a difference in the company are also essential. …

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