Underlying every business are items and services taken for granted. These are the things keeping employees productive and operations going smoothly.
Sometimes these are the little things to keep employees happy. Other times it’s the items to do work efficiently. They’ve become so ingrained they feel almost part of the business itself as if they’ve always been there.
What are these items we can’t quite put our finger on? Let’s find out.
The Little Things Keeping Employees Happy
Happy employees make for a happy workplace. A happy workplace makes for a happy customer experience. This reciprocal good feeling can begin with how well you treat your employees — and the items/resources given to them.
What are the little things keeping employees happy?
- Java — A good cup of coffee will get the team going. Unfortunately, all too often, offices neglect their coffee machines, leaving the brewing task to a poor 10-cup drip machine purchased at the local discount store. A reasonable alternative to this uncivilized approach is with Aramark coffee machines for offices, which provide a great selection of java brews tailored to employees preferences. This is true whether it’s single-cup servings or an espresso to power a person through the day.
- Attire — A relaxed dress code lets employees be comfortable in their work environment. This also lowers the stress of having to appear professional and the costs associated with expensive business-wear.
- Chillout Space — Chillout spaces are something you often find in startups. They’re now making their way to the corporate environment, too. These chillout rooms/outdoors let employees fully unwind on their break with relaxing furniture, snacks, and fun activities. They’ll come back more productive than ever vs having to sit in their car during the breaks.
- Group Exercise — Group exercise is both a great team building routine and lifestyle adjustment. This short (5-minute) pre-work activity will energize the troops while reducing health insurance costs.
The Unnoticed Items Keeping the Business Going
Then, there are the items keeping the business going. Those items providing the necessary resources so employees can do their job. Or, underlying technology and opportunities giving the business growth potential.
What are these unnoticed items keeping the business going?
There are several in this category, including:
- Web hosting
- Off-site backups
- SaaS tools
- VoIP telecoms
Almost every business tool and resource shifted to the web. This reduces costs from having installations on each system while also improving business security. These items are now a part of the normal work routine.
A business without security protocols and tools is a business doomed to face reprehensible consequences. Security is often an oversight — most (if not all) employees will never touch the security tools and resources underlying the business. Yet, they do play an important role in keeping it operational.
Security features include (but are not limited to):
- Anti-virus software and firewalls
- Physical security (e.x. locks, safes, passcards)
- Security cameras, lighting, and motion sensors
Industry Reports & Analytics
Keeping up with the latest industries news is a hair-pulling experience. New releases, laws, best practices, rules, and competition appear daily. Industry reports, created by professional organizations, can help align your business with trends and regulation.
Where are these reports found?
Likewise, internal analytics help dictates the direction of the business. These analytical tools provide key insights of what’s working and what’s not. This includes performance reports for employees, too, which a business could use to shape the work environment.
The Hidden in Plain Sight Services Businesses Use Every Day
What are those items so perfectly ingrained in the business they’re almost hidden in plain sight? The services allowing the business to do what it does?
Consider the following…
Payment processing services like accepting debit/credit cards are handled by a third party. These services are both front and back-end — one which customers interact and the other the employees manage.
Basically, if you’re accepting funds at your business you’re using one of the big payment processing companies. But, there are several smaller options, too, including PayPal, Square, and Stripe.
Outside of accounting, most employees and customers won’t have a second thought about the inner-workings of payment processing. But, they’re absolutely vital to the everyday operations.
What happens if the sole employee responsible for a task suddenly quits? What if your database goes kaput and wipes out to-do lists?
Behind most (professional) operations is process documentation. These are the documents explaining the roles of individuals and how tasks are treated/done. Today, most of this is handled through team management or charting software — but many still rely on old-fashioned written notes.
What’s the point of it and how does it help?
- Identify and remove issues with the tasks
- Cut down on the time required to do items
- Improve workflow and customer satisfaction
… essentially, it’s about creating consistency with work.
This ‘hidden in plain sight’ item needs a regular updating to keep the business competitive and growing. An off-shoot of this is the culture guide many businesses use with internal interactions, outreach, and on-boarding.
Speaking about onboarding…
Onboarding software and services help new hires quickly integrate into the workforce. These tools give HR and managers a set of to-dos with introducing individuals to others and helping them understand their role.
Employees may not have even known they were part of an onboarding process — it’s that subtle. These tools also help manage agreements and legal paperwork needed to get the employee(s) cleared.
Onboarding tools are also a part of the client interaction helping users understand products. And, helps the project grow.
A couple of the popular onboarding solutions include:
- ADP Workforce Now
Most of these tools became cloud-based, but there are a few software solutions for local installs.
You Can’t Unsee Them. Now What?
Realizing there are so many unnoticed items used for business operations is a bit like noticing you’re breathing. Once it’s on your mind you can’t help but notice these things all around the workplace.
There’s a good chance the items listed in this post haven’t been upgraded or expanded on for some time. Maybe now’s the chance?
- Poll your employees what they’d like to see in the office
- Ask customers how you can better serve their needs
- Find inefficiencies with items you’re using presently
These small items are as important as the big investments (if not more in some cases). So, reveal the relatively unknown and make them effective for your business operations!