The very phrase ‘good business practice’ surely suggests that if you strive for good business practice, then your company will obviously benefit from this. But what is the relationship between good business practice and young recruits and what are the actions you can take to make sure you are undertaking good business practice. How could this benefit your business in the long term?
In media reports about the economy and business sectors, articles are always keen to point out the best companies to work for because of their good business practices and, inevitably, we sometimes read about companies who haven’t hit the mark. Surely, it is always going to be better to either appear in those ‘best company’ lists or, if you are a local small or medium enterprise, at least have the reputation of being a great company.
In this article, we will take a look at some examples of good business practice; how using these examples can benefit a company and how school leavers, students and graduates can contribute to this and, in turn, benefit themselves.
What if there is no good business practice in a company?
Well, first of all, let’s look at what happens if there are poor working practices in a company. What happens if your staff are just arriving at work every day – if you are lucky – to go through the motions, do just about what they need to do and work the shifts assigned to them without any discussion? Work, home, work, home.
If there is no good business practice, it becomes more difficult to recruit new staff and also retain existing staff. Clearly, this is bad for the business in the long run if there is a bad reputation and word gets around that this company is not a good company to work for. Staff retention and easy recruitment is what everyone is looking for; not the opposite. And everyone wants the staff that are recruited to be the best out there. That is not going to happen if no one wants to work for the company.
If there is no good business practice, this is not good for company productivity. Staff will only be doing what they need to do – and sometimes less – because they don’t feel happy or valued in the workplace. Staff who do not feel valued will not be prepared to go that extra mile for the company and they also won’t feel inspired to come up with new and innovative ideas to help the business.
What happens when there is good business practice in a company?
There needs to be a happy workplace where all staff feel valued and heard and where they feel management does its best to meet their needs in order for innovation and dynamism to be a part of the company culture.
And valuing staff does not necessarily have to be in the form of financial bonuses – although a bit of extra cash can always help, of course. Demonstrating to staff that they are valued and appreciated can be something as simple as compliments from bosses and superiors or mentors. Most staff in the workplace just want to feel that their efforts are appreciated and have not gone unnoticed and a verbal acknowledgement can go a long way in doing this.
Where good business practice is in place, a good reputation will eventually follow and this means, when it comes to recruitment, there will be an increased number of applications for vacant positions. Businesses are always keen to attract the best young talent in the United Kingdom whether that is through part time and temporary student jobs, apprenticeships for school leavers or graduate roles. If the business has a good reputation, more young people will apply for roles.
Over all, good business practice benefits a business because there will be greater engagement between employees and management, more productivity because staff actually want to work for the company and also, there will be a happier workplace in general. This is surely a better situation than having management closed away, a lack of communication and a workforce going through the motions and calling in sick because they feel stressed or ignored and undervalued.
Examples of good business practice and how they can benefit a business
Good business practice can mean lots of things and below, I have listed a few examples. Some of these examples have been addressed in previous articles in more detail. The relevant articles are linked to for further reference.
Delegate roles so that there is a good team of staff at all levels: Especially if you are a startup or a small and medium enterprise, your business is like your baby and it can be difficult to let go. This results in some bosses feeling like they are the only ones who can take on particular tasks – you want this doing your way.
If you are employing apprentices, students or graduates and you don’t give them the responsibility of taking on projects and challenges within the workplace, this can be bad for the business in the long run because those staff will not feel trusted by you and will become unhappy in their role.
Good business practice is delegating some of those tasks you feel you can’t let go of to your younger staff. Apprentices, students and graduates grow and develop when they are given these responsibilities and you get the time to carry out other projects that will push the business forward. Younger staff will tackle projects from a different angle and can introduce some innovative practices. They will also be happier in the workplace and feel trusted by you and that means your staff retention levels are likely to improve.
Top quality products and services: It might be a physical product you are creating or selling or it could be a service but all products should be top quality products that both employers and employees can take pride in and feel proud to be associated with it.
These days, school leavers, students and graduates want to to work for companies that offer customers first class services and products so it is good business practice to offer this. Not only does it make your customers happy and improve your reputation, it will also attract more applications at recruitment time. Again, if young staff feel proud of the company they work for because of the standard of the products and services, then they are more likely to remain in their role for a longer period of time.
Who is your product or service aimed at? If you are hoping to reach a younger market, then it is good business practice to work with your students and apprentices and ask them what they think of the product. How can it be improved so that more young people are attracted to it. Your students and graduates can come up with lots of alternative suggestions for developing your product that you might not even have considered.
Knowing your competition: Obviously, it is good business practice to know who and what your competition is and again, student workers, apprentices and graduates can benefit you here.
As a manager or boss of your company, you might have studied the businesses you are up against for the sale of your product or service and you no doubt have lots of ideas as to how you can push your USP. Bringing young people, school leavers, students and graduates into the company, however, could give you another insight into this.
Have you missed something that a younger customer base might be looking for? Perhaps your younger staff have used the product of a competitor and they can tell you what they liked about it – and even what they didn’t like. They might also be able to offer some insight on what they think is missing from your product and that of competitors and you can modify your own product or service to exploit a possible gap in the market.
Do you know your pricing? If you are an established, larger company or corporation then this might not be an issue but for small and medium enterprises and startups, you might still be looking at the pricing of your product or service and are open to ideas.
Is your product or service priced to the correct audience and do people feel it is good value? Small and medium enterprises can often benefit from having discussion with staff about this and depending on the product on offer, school leavers, students and graduates can offer some valuable insight as to whether or not they would buy your product, as a young person, at that price.
If they would buy it, what is it about your product that they think offers value. If they wouldn’t buy it, why not? Perhaps they can put forward some ideas on how to make your product more affordable to people in their age group: Some modifications for a cheaper model or some special offers for young people, for example.
Customer care: Everyone knows that it is good business practice to have excellent customer care. Especially if you are a retail business where you have staff working on the shop floor, dealing with customers face to face, students, graduates and other young people can offer a new dynamic and encourage younger customers into the store. Younger staff visibility gives the impression of a young, dynamic company and younger customers will be attracted to the store as they will feel they can relate to your younger staff. This increases sales for your company and also gives it a younger reputation.
Be passionate about your business and showing it: Especially with small and medium enterprises, businesses are often set up by a person who is passionate about the product or service they offer.
It is good business practice to demonstrate to others, both within your line of business and to customers, that you do genuinely care about your product. This can be a visible presence at events such as trade shows and expos.
And where do younger staff come into this? By taking your apprentices, students or graduate staff with you, others will see that you are investing in young people and this can give a boost to your reputation. Of course, it is also good experience for your younger staff to get a broader picture about how your business is run and they will also be a fresh pair of eyes, seeing what else is going on around the event. They could provide valuable feedback afterwards.
For future recruitment of young people, having young staff present at trade shows and expos means they will be able to talk with other young people about their roles within your company.
Support local community projects: Why is it good business practice to support local community projects? What’s in it for you?
Yes, one of the main reasons people go out to work is so that they can earn money for life essentials and, hopefully, leisure activities, as well. These days, however, more graduates and young people are looking into companies before they apply for roles, not just for the financial benefits they might receive but also to see if the company takes its ethical policies seriously. Young people want to work for a company that cares.
One way of doing this is supporting local community projects. This could be financial support where you offer some of your products or services for free to a local project or you might sponsor a local youth sports team. For smaller companies where offering financial support might be difficult, you could be physically involved in a project by offering to do voluntary work.
This is good business practice because it gives you a good reputation within the community and helps you stand out from the competition. Customers prefer to use the services of visibly caring companies rather than those they see as just being out there to make a profit. I have written about how SMEs can stand out above the competition in the past and getting involved in community projects is one way of doing this. Not only can it be good for your future sales and reputation, it can also be good for staff morale and increasing your staff retention.
Once you have a reputation for supporting local projects and having a happy staff, the knock on effect should be that the best young local talent out there is eager to apply for your future vacancies.
Taking health and safety to another level: We all know that whatever type of business you run there will be a minimum level of health and safety standards that you will have to show you have reached. But are you in a position to take this one step further and go the extra mile to look after your staff?
Employer perks are a great way to attract and retain young talent and those little extras in the health and safety department could go a long way in attracting that young talent to apply for your vacancies if you get a reputation for looking after your staff’s welfare.
It might be possible to have specially designed desk chairs to help prevent back pain or a particular type of lighting in the place of work that is easy on the eye and helps prevent headaches. If extra finance isn’t available for funding added extras like this, walking, running or cycling clubs could be formed, too, so that staff are encouraged to stay fit and healthy.
Of course, as well as demonstrating that staff are valued and attracting more applicants for your roles, a further benefit to spending some extra time working on health and safety initiative is the fact that you should get less work-based injuries and illnesses. Your staff won’t be taking as much time off sick and so your productivity is increased. Healthy activities such as walking, cycling and running can be a great morale booster, help team work and generally create a workplace of happy staff and this is one factor that attracts students and graduates to your jobs and careers.
There are countless examples out there where we can look at the relationship and subsequent benefits of good business practice and the employment of school leavers, students and graduates. These are just a few ideas that show mutual benefit both for the business and young talent out there looking for part time jobs and full time careers. Good business practice is all about generating more business for a company and creating a happy workplace at the same time.
E4S attracts many young people from all backgrounds who are looking for work. Whether you are looking to employ students on a part time or temporary basis or you have apprenticeship or graduate programme places to fill, advertise your roles with us to tap into the UK’s best young talent.