Surviving as a business can be difficult, especially in a technologically advanced world where many markets have now become truly global. If you are an entrepreneur who is trying to make an SME work, you need to create the right foundations, and environment, for this to happen. This involves a lot of hard work and effort, in order to get the results you are looking for.

Right from the start, you need to ensure that all the legal requirements and paperwork are in place, so that your business can progress. From then on it’s about ensuring everyone involved with the business works as a collective force, to make sure the business is as successful as possible. This can only happen if people feel safe in their role, and valuable to the business.

Why is feeling safe so important

It’s human nature to want to feel safe in what we are doing. No-one likes to feel insecure. For a business, having a workforce that does not feel safe can be catastrophic. Your employees need to feel that they have the freedom to do their job, and suggest changes and improvements, without too much interference or the threat of being laid off if the business starts to have problems. If employees do not have a feeling of safety, they are likely to take action such as making their job more complicated than it needs to be in order to make themselves seem indispensable. This is not what you want. Any business needs to be as efficient as possible, so employees need to be encouraged to make processes more efficient without any fear of losing their job.

How do good leaders promote a feeling of safety?

Too often we see CEOs of underperforming companies receiving huge salaries despite the issues. They seem to be very distant from the workforce. This distance promotes a feeling of fear and uncertainty, not safety. Good leaders communicate with employees at all times and include open conversation. They also share the burdens of hard times, whether it’s by cutting their bonuses, or reducing their salaried hours. All of this helps employees to feel safer. They can see that their leaders are on the journey with them, which makes them feel as though everyone is important to the business, and its survival.

This is not only important to the workforce, it’s important to the business as a whole. Employees that feel secure in their role tend to perform more effectively. They also feel able to suggest and implement positive changes. As a result, business performance and productivity improves.

You may never have thought of the influence you can have on the people who work for you; but it can be vital if you want your business to be successful. Being a supportive and enabling leader helps your employees to feel safe and helps to optimise revenue and growth. This benefits you and the people you employ.