Productivity

Taking care of business: The importance of happy staff

Jessica Rowe
Culture Journalist

Jessica Rowe is a Melbourne-based writer with a passion for not-for-profits, the digital world and making a difference

Jessica Rowe
Culture Journalist

Jessica Rowe is a Melbourne-based writer with a passion for not-for-profits, the digital world and making a difference

Staff are the backbone of any small business. And when they’re overwhelmed or stressed, productivity and morale can decrease. Here’s how you can protect you most important asset: your team.

For many businesses, the end of financial year means one thing: stress. And in the financial sector, it’s the busiest time of the year. The influx of enquiries, appointments and lodging puts serious pressure on staff. However, by ensuring your staff are looked after and valued, it can make these peak periods the most rewarding.

Employees can be motivated by a number of things: growth, recognition, salary and doing work that makes them proud. But when the workload increases, motivation and morale can decrease. That’s why incentives are so important. The offer of an additional reward gives an employee that extra motivation to go above and beyond.

H&R Block is Australia’s largest provider of individual tax returns. They provide tax returns for approximately 700,000 Australians every year across over 450 offices. In fact, according to them, they prepare 60 per cent of all Australian tax returns. As such a major player in the financial sector, it’s crucial H&R Block develop strategies to protect their employees during such a busy time. 

We speak to tax specialist, Mark Chapman from H&R Block about how they look after their staff. 

Man sitting at his desk

Never overlook your staff

Chapman, who has a wealth of experience in management, knows all too well the importance of keeping your employees happy. Small business owners invest a lot of time, energy and money in the customer, the client. They ensure they’re satisfied and happy. But sometimes, staff are overlooked.

“I’ve worked for places that have taken staff for granted and treated staff poorly. And that generally flows through into the business’ bottom line.

“It’s essential that staff feel appreciated, they need to feel welcomed, they need to feel they’re getting a pat on the back for the work they’ve done. Like most other sectors, tax consultants are relatively thin on the ground, not that many people are qualified to do tax returns, so it’s important we maintain a workforce.”

Thank you goes a long way

Employees don’t always need financial incentives to feel valued: there are plenty of other ways to say thank you.

“After the tax season we hold functions in each district to say thanks to all of our staff. It’s an opportunity for them to let their hair down for a few hours, have a few drinks and get to know their colleagues – not just in their offices but also in their districts.

“H&R Block also offers awards for the best performing office. This brings teams together and builds relationships resulting in productivity and efficiencies.

“It’s clear where staff do feel appreciated and where they get recognised, it enables greater staff retention, higher staff morale, and that turns into an increase in productivity and increased profitability. So it’s a win-win all around.

“It’s good for business, good for productivity, good for workplace morale – it’s important to look after our people."

When the pressure’s on, it’s crucial to look after your staff. Whether it’s an incentive, free meals or even a pat on the back, feeling valued and recognised is key to morale, retention and productivity. 

Mark’s top tips

  1. Incentivise: From parties to awards, give your staff something to work towards
  2. Congratulate: Let your staff know when they have gone above and beyond
  3. Invest: During peak periods, hire contractors to help elevate the workload from full time staff

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