In almost every relationship I have been involved in, the phrase “it is the little things that matter” is probably one of the most recurrent phrases I have heard. As a young child, this could be asking how my mom’s day went, or how much I appreciated the meal that was made for me. As a teenager, just making up my room or taking time out to help out with chores around the house were some of these little things. The impact or effect on whoever said it to me was obviously huge, and to them, it was a big deal.

The workplace is not so different, as a matter of fact, I have found that to be successful at work or in business, the little things really are the big things. Here are some examples of little things that could make a BIG difference:

As an Employee:

1. Planning your day:
How often do we find ourselves overwhelmed with tasks, such that we start to feel that our managers need to be a bit more compassionate about the volume of work thrown at us? How many of us use our task managers or to-do lists daily for some more structure? Sometimes it is easier to have conversations with our managers when we know what we have planned for the day. Doing this may just earn you the respect of your managers.

2. Keeping informed:
Do we know what is going on in the business outside of our specific roles or maybe in the industry apart from who is hiring? Keeping informed allows us to have some meaningful conversations, sometimes bumping into the CEO or one of the company directors could make the difference in our careers, a simple conversation that shows you are connected to the business beyond your regular job could well earn you the recognition you have been looking for. Think back to the last time you sought to know how other departments benefitted from your department and what you could do to support them.

3. Knowing what is expected of you:
Taking a look at our job descriptions/ KPI’s / role expectations! This is only a 5-minute activity that could be carried out at any point in the day, just to refresh and re-align yourself with your job and what the business expects of you.

4. Understanding your environment
What are the peculiarities of your work/business/industry environment, do you take time out to observe the things that make your environment unique and how can you add value?

As an Employer

1. Setting the tone:
How many employers clearly communicate what they already know as the expectation to their employees – Vision/ Performance standards/ Culture expectations/ Values? Most employers in one form or another know these things, the problem more often than not is communicating them at the right time. As long as you have started a business you already have a rough cut of these. If you are a small business owner, this means making out time to talk to your people about what’s important. For the larger organizations, maybe it’s time to empower your HR Team by supporting the People/culture initiatives from the front.

2. Keeping Promises:
Most organizations invest in tools that provide support to the employees for greater effectiveness and efficiency, however the people still feel they are not being carried along on this ride to success? How often have we made the promise to our employees of a brighter future, only to cease communication when the time comes to fulfill our promise. Keeping a promise is possibly the most difficult thing to do (the future is uncertain) however we can earn the trust of our people simply by making sure they are kept in the loop. What is the point of building structures only to gag responsible departments? Courage in leadership is often tested in adversity and the results of courageous leadership rarely ends in the negative. Letting employees know the current state of things rather the grapevine representing you.

3. People Development:
The sum of all individual development adds up to organizational development. Development is often viewed from paid training perspectives, developing internal coaching and mentoring programs are affordable, and efficient if taken seriously.

4. Financial Discipline:
Resisting the urge to be spontaneous, most organizations invest with the business’s best interests in mind, however, taking time out to plan and ensure the best value is considered before diving into expenditure may be the wise move. Whether you are investing in people or other resources, it is best to look closely at the figures and value. We all want long term success and this is not possible if we have made fundamental financial errors at the beginning.

Well, there you have it, the Big little things by Olurotimi Ismail. The Big little things that makes a difference when it comes to workplace ethics, for the employees, and also the employer. To get more business developmental guides like this, you can subscribe to our newsletter, you can also download a pdf. copy of this guide, with added insights and book recommendations to better help you understand more about ethics and the workplace.


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