People are your greatest asset
It’s something of a cliché, sure, but it’s also a far too simple way of describing what you as a director, a leader and an employer have at your disposal, and the responsibility that places on you. I say simple because people, per se, aren’t your greatest asset – even your very best employees. Rather, the greatest asset to your business is how you empower and nurture those employees, how you make them feel about you and the environment in which they work, and how you care for them. After all, the main function of our businesses is to bring together people from many backgrounds, each with their own set of unique skills and talents, to motivate and build them into a team – a unit – that is capable of achieving the targets that we, collectively, strive to reach. Therein lies the true meaning of responsibility.
As a leader I have a deep sense of that responsibility for the members of my editorial team. I want them to succeed, to develop and gain valuable skills that can help them in their careers, I want them to enjoy working in the environment I’m able to create for them – and to be a team; it’s a level of responsibility that’s difficult to switch off from.
I know I’m not alone in that approach, either. At BizClik, we take our responsibility as employers, leaders and colleagues very seriously – as one of East Anglia’s fastest-growing businesses we have to. Our digital hub, located in the centre of Norwich is vibrant, it’s busy and it’s a demanding, but very rewarding place to work. And because we’re looking to grow our workforce by some 25 percent over the coming 12 months, eyeing as many as 20 new people across the board, each of my colleagues has an absolute responsibility to ensure that continues every day, and that all our employees have the most rewarding and valuable experience they can.
As I’m sure most reading this will agree, that’s no mean feat. There are a multitude of areas that fall under the banner of responsibility, particularly for a business as dynamic as ours. But there are a few essential aspects that we can all understand and implement in a bid to ensure we’re doing all we can.
How do you lead a company responsibly?
Responsibility, for example, means far more than making sure your workers are safe, protected and provided with the necessary tools to do their jobs. That, in my opinion, should be a given. A vast majority of us seek meaning and purpose through our work; financial reward is, naturally, important but a responsible employer should focus their efforts on those far less tangible things: relationships, morale, value-driven career progression and putting in place those structures and processes that effectively motivate employees to want to be their very best – for themselves and for you.
Our BizClik Academy, which we’ve launched this year as part of our drive to further nurture our staff, is a good example of this. As we grow, we want people to grow with us. The Academy – developed in-house to be tailored to our specific requirements and those of our employees – is a comprehensive educational and motivational platform that performs an essential function: helping people to develop personally and professionally, to improve their core skills as well as satisfy any aspirations they may have, and to ensure we are giving people all that we can as leaders.
Effective leadership is key
Responsibility is driven from the top. That’s why the Academy focuses heavily on the leadership skills and capabilities that, through improving the way in which we work as leaders, will directly impact each of our employees whatever their role. Naturally it majors on things like career skills and learning opportunities (essential building blocks for any member of the team), but there’s also a heavy focus on those aspects of work that are becoming increasingly important and that any leader worth their salt should be mindful of: stress management and anxiety, workload and time management, communication skills and more.
As a responsible employer you have to get these aspects right – work, according to a 2018 UK workplace stress survey by Perkbox*, is the most common cause of stress for UK adults, with 59 percent experiencing it. And yet, says Perkbox, close to half of UK workers report their workplace having nothing in place to address this or improve wellbeing; just six percent offer stress management or similar training. That’s not good enough, and we’re proud to be among the small number of companies that do take action.
Of course, as a business, your responsibilities lie beyond those that you have for your employees. There’s never been a greater focus on the environment and our collective impact on the planet, meaning that for businesses corporate social responsibility (CSR) is key. Whilst a broad subject, in its essence CSR helps your business to be socially accountable – to itself, its stakeholders and the public, and the environment.
Keeping it local
At BizClik, for example, we are a passionate advocate for Norwich, and we aim to continue to be one of the fastest growing businesses in the region thanks to the opportunities available here. We work closely with businesses as well as several local charities including Mind, Big C, it’s on the Ball, and Norfolk Air Ambulance, to foster a community spirit that can pay dividends for our employees and those that we partner with.
Nurturing our young people
We also understand the responsibility that businesses face in having one eye on the future. We have, for some years, taken part in an apprenticeship scheme with City College Norwich that has brought us some very talented and ambitious young team members and allowed us to share our knowledge and experience with them – any business has an absolute duty to give young people embarking on their careers the very best start possible.
Create your own business identity
That it’s paying dividends for us is an added, and very welcome bonus. I could go on. As a business leader your responsibilities don’t end, and you shouldn’t want them to. Every day is a new challenge and provides you with the opportunity to make a difference for your business and those that you spend the vast majority of your lives with. Responsibility can mean nurturing your employees, it can mean being a proponent of smart recycling initiatives or basing yourself in an energy efficient, super-modern building, or it could be measured by your charitable efforts. The reality is that it is all of these things, and that’s where the fun comes in.