Cogs in a machine can’t strive for excellence

Companies can be such well-oiled machines they become just that: machines. Highly programmed to produce work at an exhaustively efficient rate – exhaustive to the staff, not the company, of course. Every employee is just one minor component; helpful to the overall operation but completely replaceable once worn out. These soulless environments can chew you up and spit you out without anyone even raising an eyebrow. But if a company doesn’t care about its staff, why should the staff care about the company?

People make the great stuff happen

Every business needs to keep improving to stay ahead of the game. Often though, owners put improvements down to process and output: how can we work faster? How can we deliver more? How can we cut down on staff? This attitude creates an environment that’s so high-pressured, staff can find themselves operating out of anxiety, insecurity or even fear – nobody does their best work like this. I believe it’s developing people, not processes, that can have the most profound impact on the success of a business. If staff feel inspired to get the best out of themselves, the workplace becomes a breeding ground for excellence. Simple as that. Forget whip cracking, passionate employees drive themselves. And they drive the business along with them.

Caring about people is in our DNA

Putting people first – it may feel like an unusual notion for many corporate companies, but to us at Bastion it’s completely natural. When we first set out to create our business, we wanted Bastion to be more than a name. It should be a set of beliefs that are as much about people as they are about business. As with any philosophy, it’s important to communicate it properly so others can buy into it. So, we wrote the Bastion constitution. By putting our brains together and our pens to paper, we scribed what we wanted Bastion to stand for. Number one: we make each others’ lives better. If we provide our people with opportunities and experiences that encourage personal development, we knew we’d get high-performing staff day in, day out.

We’re not afraid to tell it like it is 

Don’t let the phrase– we make each others’ lives better– fool you. There’s no sitting around campfires having singalongs and holding hands. It’s far from fluffy. It’s a challenge, if anything. We genuinely care about peoples’ development and will do everything we can to make it happen – that means we expect to see development. We want world-class work that’s better every time. If we’re not seeing it, we’ll want to know why. We don’t shy away from difficult conversations either. That’s just how we operate. We champion people when they’re at their best, and challenge them when they’re not. But, much like a family, any tough words all come from a place of genuine care and support.

Better staff make a better business

It’s time for employees to be seen as people, not parts. Work environments should be exciting places where ambitions are chased and passion comes naturally. They should motivate people to reach their best – and then keep redefining it. If you’re a business owner, take the time to sit down with your employees and drill them on their aspirations. Chances are, the key to your business’ success will be staring you right in the face.

About the author

Fergus Watts is the founder and executive chairman of Bastion Collective, a global network of companies helping brands and organisations form meaningful connections with audiences. In his role, Fergus oversees communications agency Bastion Effect, sponsorship specialists Bastion EBA, government and China advisory firm Bastion S&GO, reputation management company Bastion RM, merchandising business Bastion Promote, creative content firm Bastion Stadium, major initiatives business Bastion Live, sponsorship sales agent Bastion Connect and research firm Bastion Latitude.