The reigns of business are switching hands. As millennials climb the corporate ladder, the vitality of the professional world shifts to a generation with a completely different attitude. A recent survey showed only 8% of 11,000 people surveyed stayed at the same company throughout their career. People are more comfortable taking chances at new companies which is a great sign for a growing economy. However, this occupational mobility brings new struggles for managers who seek to create continuity in an office with constantly changing faces. The ability to maintain stability and cohesion in a dynamic environment is crucial because it allows businesses to reap the many benefits of continuity.
Why Continuity is Important for Employees
Stress and anxiety are part of business, especially at a growing company. Whenever employees are out of their comfort zones, they make rash decisions that can jeopardize accounts. These problems are often compounded when employees do not feel comfortable reaching out for help. Conversely, when employees feel comfortable, they lose the inhibitions that come with being a new hire. They will speak out when they see something wrong and are more likely to assert themselves in collaborative settings. You hire people for a specific reason, and the sooner they can find their niche, the faster they will contribute.
If a company’s practices and policies are well documented, employees will spend less time trying to interpret gray areas and naturally reach solutions faster. It is crucial for these guidelines to remain consistent. Changing them will create discrepancies between old and new hires which inhibits good business practices. It is important to update protocols whenever new situations arise. The fewer people who have to stumble through uncharted territory, the better. If you do any sort of content marketing these documents are a great place to start if you want to write an article on your business process.
Employees tend to wear many hats, and roam between teams. It is important that they can easily communicate their notes and progress with teammates. However, it is cumbersome to have different programs for different projects. Reducing the number of organizational systems and establishing note taking procedures will allow employees to communicate faster and more succinctly with each other. It will also cut down on time spent recovering passwords, calling technical support, and all the other headaches that come from learning new software.
Whatever system you set up to manage your information should be easily scalable. Short term solutions might be convenient, but you can never count on them in the long run. Think about what might happen down the road and make sure your system can accommodate for new hires and layoffs. Foresight makes everyone’s lives better and long term goals are a great indicator of future success.
Why Continuity is important for Customers
Savvy customers are aware when businesses take advantage of them. When they catch wind of something fishy, they can use social media to ruin brand reputation. Whenever customers are given inconsistent information, they become suspicious, even if it is an honest mistake. Consistent information will make customers feel valued and make your business seem credible. It is almost impossible to synchronise your team’s information if you have to search through old and disorganized systems.
If a customer deals with your business on a regular basis, they deserve efficient service. Whenever someone helping them has to dig up their information, it wastes everybody’s time. Good customers deserve to have a single account manager who is familiar and helpful. If everybody is on the same page, it is easy to delegate accounts and foster strong relationships with customers. Certain solutions will give managers the option to assign customers which is incredibly helpful for organizations.
Studies have shown that keeping a level head in stressful situations makes you appear more successful and qualified. Workplace chaos can easily seep into customer interactions, making you seem frantic and disorganized. Customers are paying you because you provide something they do not have or cannot do. If you are always frenzied, they might question if you are actually capable and deserving of their business. If things are constantly changing around the office, employees will have a million things to think about, and it will be impossible to focus on the customers.
Tips to Create Continuity
Continuity doesn’t mean having the exact same schedule every day. Monotony, especially in a professional setting, can make people feel bored and unfulfilled. The best ways to create continuity involves creating overarching routines that people can depend on. For example, weekly check ins are great because they create deadlines, but do not force employees into repetitive tasks.
It is important to establish areas of expertise within a team, but avoid subordinate roles. This will prevent the stigmas that come from workplace power structures, and allow people to focus and specialize. It will also make replacing people easier because replacements can slide into a predefined role.
Be sure to document whatever you can. If you make a note of a breakthrough you should be able to replicate it later. However, documentation is much more important when you fail. Mistakes are important because they are opportunities for improvement, but are not useful if they happen often. You should always share solutions throughout the office to create consistent and correct methods.
Making your schedule public is critical, especially if you ever work remotely. Leaving voicemails and playing phone tag slows down business. You cannot collaborate well without effective time management and it is easier to plan when you know exactly when everyone is available.
Continuity does not all of the sudden happen and then stay forever. It take a lot of small steps, and the results are not always immediately apparent. The easiest way to create continuity is building good habits, so make it a clear priority the moment new employees are hired. A little effort initially will translate to a considerably better business environment down the road.
If you can pull this all together, you will create a harmonious work environment and increase your chances for success. If you want to fast track this process, there are many optimization programs that will keep you organized for the future.
About the Author: Jed Rosen is a Business Development Associate at Badger Maps, a sales mapping tool that helps field salespeople become more successful.Back to Small Business blogs