In today’s challenging landscape of staff shortages and skills gaps, companies across wide-ranging sectors are competing for both clients and high-calibre staff, and sharing financial information may be a way of attracting the best.
With many employees conscious of their value as a marketable commodity, sharing details of a business’ performance can be instrumental in engendering trust, loyalty and commitment.
Many companies shy away from revealing their bottom line figures to their teams for many reasons; concerns that workers may ask for pay rises, fear of the details reaching competitors, or a natural reticence to openly discuss turnover and profitability.
As every business owner and managing director is aware, the ability to recruit, develop and retain talented teams with the right attitude and skills is critical to growth. Our transparent culture, where financial performance figures are shared with our 59-strong team via quarterly business updates, is reaping a wealth of benefits. Such reporting has engendered inclusivity and buy-in, with staff fondly referring to TRFC as their ‘second home’.
Every employee knows how their role impacts on our wider vision, and business processes are improved by their suggestions, as highlighted when account managers recommended that we hired a placement student to reduce administrative work. Acting on their advice, we recruited a student whose outstanding contribution resulted in us launching a work experience programme with Sheffield Hallam University.
Stakeholders in the business
Regarding themselves as stakeholders in their companies through the ethos of shared financial information, valued employees across all departments are confident in the knowledge that they are integral to the future of the business.
We put the figures in perspective by ensuring that every employee understands how the wider business operates. New starters spend time with different departments and non-commercial managers are involved in profitability discussions to understand their impacts on the wider performance.
Our credit manager, Steve Kershaw, has seen the business grow from a handful of people to our now 59-strong team. His development plan has entailed him learning about the wider business strategy. He values how the company invests in him and how everyone shares in the success. ‘We’ve had some fantastic nights out; and we finish every Friday for the weekend at 3pm, which you can’t argue with assuming all work is complete,’ he adds.
All staff receiving quarterly financial updates on how the business is performing and everyone understands how vital a role they play in contributing to the wider growth and strategy. ‘I’m energised by where we are heading and knowing that I am contributing to the company’s success,’ Kershaw says.
Consistent in our values and actions, we applaud and celebrate the achievements of our people. Trainee Ken Thomas, who has overcome adversity and a series of tough challenges, is now a top salesperson. Employed in manual work since leaving school, he was knocked off his bike on the way to work in 2010, leaving him virtually without the use of his left arm, and on disability benefit for five years.
We immediately spotted his potential, and his tremendous progress since then reinforces how we try to help people to turn their lives around with the right training and employment map.
We never micro-manage our teams, because our managers understand the financials and feel they can make a difference and seek out solutions to challenges revealed by the figures. For example, tasked with reducing the time for customers to receive fuel cards, our credit and customer service managers hired two dedicated staff for checking customers’ credit scores and setting up accounts, reducing timings to less than a week compared to the industry norm of two.
Rewards and incentives
Building and retaining happy, healthy and motivated teams also involves rewarding and incentivising them. Nick Dodsworth, who was promoted from customer service agent to team leader upon completion of his 12 months roadmap says, ‘I used to be treated as a number in my previous role whereas now I’m being invested in massively with a company who really does care. I’m thriving on working with an outstanding employer.’
The ability to recruit, develop and motivate talented sales and customer service staff, with the right attitude and skills, is critical to our growth, and our focus remains on developing and retaining the people responsible for growing the business.
As a result, we’ve increased productivity and improved our attrition rates in a sector renowned for its high staff turnover, with employee feedback reinforcing how being open about our key performance indicators will go a long way to achieving our vision.
Adam Walsh is business director of The Right Fuelcard Company.
Further reading on managing staff