“Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.”
Those are the words of billionaire business tycoon Richard Branson, and no matter what you think of his corporate practices, it’s hard to disagree that employees are an essential ingredient in the success of any business.
With the country facing economic turmoil following 2020’s COVID-19 pandemic, businesses are now more reliant than ever on their employees to make a success out of tough trading conditions. As a raft of potential job cuts representing 12,000 employed roles was announced at the start of July, it seems inevitable that the UK is heading towards a jobs crisis – something bad for both the businesses that depend on their staff as well as for the people behind the roles.
For those companies that are making job cuts, it follows that added pressure will fall onto the shoulders of remaining employees who attempt to pick up the slack left by their former colleagues. In this article, we look at just some of the essential investments business owners will need to make to keep their staff prepared for whatever comes their way.
Protecting your personnel
With coronavirus still challenging countries the world over, the need to make your premises COVID-secure is unavoidable. Whether your staff are client-facing in a retail setting or even working in an office environment, you’re responsible for their safety whilst they’re on-site and that includes providing the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) to guard against coronavirus.
With the UK government’s Department for Business providing extensive guidelines for working safely during coronavirus, there’s no excuse for employers not to take the necessary steps to protect their people. Staff who don’t feel safe are unlikely to work with enthusiasm and businesses who make it clear that the health of their employees is a top priority are more likely to inspire loyalty amongst the workforce.
With social distancing here to stay, investing in personal protective equipment for staff is non-negotiable.
Effective IT solutions
With offices shut up and down the country, the COVID-19 lockdown has certainly stretched the ability of some businesses to continue usual operations. Setting aside physical retail locations for a moment, offices and operations departments for companies of all kinds have been forced to find new ways of working whilst taking some time away from the workplace.
Ask any employee and they’ll probably tell you that one of the most challenging aspects of working from home is dealing with IT and company computer systems. Whilst these facilities usually work just fine when in an office setting, taking the work home could leave employees without the in-person support of an IT technician and unable to carry out their duties effectively.
Although the remainder of 2020 and beyond is likely to see a staged return to office environments, COVID-19 has shown us that employees can work well from their own homes and take a more flexible approach to the 9-5. Whether or not your business will be endorsing an agile working policy, it can’t hurt to invest in a robust suite of IT equipment and applications that will ensure your workforce can continue to hit targets whether they’re in the office or typing away from their kitchen table.
Dependable payment solutions
As the country begins to spring back to life, businesses will naturally be looking for new ways to engage with customers and make the sales they need to survive. From big-ticket offers and sales through to new promotional campaigns and loyalty schemes, whatever method you choose to reel in the punters can only ever be as good as your payment solution.
No business wants their sales process to be flawed by a faulty or slow payment solution and customers can easily be put off by a constantly glitching card machine or ineffective online payment system. Completing a sale should be the easiest part of your funnel, but in reality it can be hard to get right and it’s important to partner with a dependable merchant services provider to ensure everything runs smoothly.
Offering a full suite of contactless-enabled Ingenico card machines and portable card readers, UTP Group is one merchant services supplier that could help your business to bounce back from COVID. With a reliable and slick eCommerce payment gateway service for online payments and even an option to apply for a merchant services account online, you could make it easier than ever for your customers to complete their transactions without ever having to endure the usual rounds of sales meetings.
Taking payment is one of the most important functions for any business, and so making it easy for employees to finalise transactions should be chief amongst your priorities.
Employees are a brand’s best assets. Acting not only in functional business roles but as advocates and ambassadors of your company and its products or services, staff are often deeply connected to their firm’s brand and values. Whether supporting their employer with online marketing or spreading the word amongst friends and family, utilising your employees could help you to grow your business and generate new leads without having to boost your marketing budget.
As we’ve already discussed, giving your employees the proper tools to do their jobs is important, but it’s equally vital to give them the right knowledge and know-how to properly promote your business to the public. By issuing your employees with good quality training and incentivising them to learn the details of your products and services, you could inspire them to not only provide customers with better levels of service but also to go the extra mile for you.
As companies work to bring themselves back from COVID-19, make sure your employees are equipped with the knowledge and training to do their jobs to the highest possible standard.