A happy workforce is essential for small companies to thrive and grow. While larger businesses might be able to cope with a few people who aren’t thrilled to be in the office, for a small company, the impact on morale and productivity will be more dramatic.
There are a number of factors in keeping staff happy, including pay, the work environment, how colleagues get on with one another, and pride in working for the company.
Perhaps even more important is for staff to be engaged with their work, with tasks that they find challenging, satisfying and interesting.
Among the benefits of a more engaged workforce are lower rates of absenteeism, better employee health (including mental health), higher employee retention and loyalty, better customer service and improved productivity, and higher quality of work – all of which can lead to higher sales and profitability.
Such is the importance of employee engagement that an employee engagement platform for SMEs was recently launched, giving employers the ability to analyse anonymous employee data to find out how engaged their workforce is and which employees are showing signs of being disaffected. Employers can also compare the data to other companies in their own or other sectors.
Obviously, all jobs will have aspects that are less interesting and more repetitive, but if these can be minimised, it will go a long way to improving motivation.
Take the onerous and time-consuming task of settling individual invoices or managing payroll for each employee. Going through hundreds of supplier invoices each month is unlikely to be a task that many in the finance department relish, while payroll requires a significant amount of admin If you have more than a handful of staff.
By using virtual banking, small businesses can streamline these tasks so they become a much smaller part of what staff deal with day to day. Virtual banking enables mass pay-outs, meaning a batch of invoices, or the salaries for the entire workforce, can be completed with the click of a mouse button.
The use of digital payments also reduces the need to handle cash, meaning the management of a float or takings in a retail environment, or the need to deposit cash at a physical bank branch, is no longer a factor.
The lack of physical bank branches also means issues with finances don’t require a visit to a distant branch location, but can be resolved through customer support that is available at any time of the day. In addition, balances and transactions can be managed online or via a mobile device.
Virtual banking also removes some of the complexity associated with traditional banking. Fees for transactions are often deducted at source, simplifying the payments process, and giving businesses a near-real-time view of finances. If the business is dealing with customers and suppliers in different countries, a single virtual bank account can be used to collect, hold and send payments in multiple currencies and channels.
Digital bank accounts also provide an online record of payments to give a clear picture of where money is coming from and going to. A real benefit in relation to employee engagement is that errors or disagreements can be resolved much more easily, as a record of payments is much easier to piece together. This reduces the likelihood of issues with suppliers or customers, and the stress those can bring.
Another factor is that embracing virtual banking demonstrates to the work force that the company is open to new ways of doing things, and unafraid to innovate. By moving away from the traditional approach to business banking, small companies will show they are looking to the future and striving to make the business more efficient and effective.
In combination, these elements can all make a difference to the amount of time members of staff can dedicate to the more engaging elements of their work. The practical benefits of virtual banking can therefore help create a more engaged workforce, who are both happier and more productive.