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SME focus

Here are some really good ways to get staff to do what you want (without forcing them)

For January’s in-depth coverage of SMEs, we looked at the importance of setting goals and getting staff working together.

EVERY MONTH, takes a close look at a certain sector or aspect of life for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Making up over 99% of all Irish businesses and employing nearly 70% of private-sector workers, these enterprises are vital to jobs and economic growth in the country.

For January, we looked at how setting goals and getting staff working together could deliver the best results for a business.

Here’s what was featured:

#How to Guide was all about getting the most out of staff by, believe it or not, being nice to them. We looked at Harvard research and other sources which showed leaders who workers thought were warm, fair and “likeable” tended to be the most effective

State of Union US President Barack Obama Jacquelyn Martin / AP/Press Association Images Jacquelyn Martin / AP/Press Association Images / AP/Press Association Images

#What I Learned took a look inside the operations of Dublin-based CurrencyFair, a business which has been making big ripples in the foreign exchange business – particularly for expats sending money back home. Co-founder Brett Meyers said the company was trying to stay “nimble” as it expanded, but was also focused on putting solid plans in place to achieve its goals and making sure staff enjoyed their work

CurrencyFair Jobs Announcements Meyers, left, with other CurrencyFair co-founders and Taoiseach Enda Kenny Mark Stedman / Photocall Ireland Mark Stedman / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

#Business Poll posed readers the question: What was the best way to keep staff motivated and working in the right direction? And, judging from the results, the thing people value most of all is enjoying their time on the job – although seeing a cash benefit to their work was also high on the priority list

Business Poll

#The Big Idea was about improving employee mental health and building happier workplaces, and how paying attention to these things also made for more productive staff. Social enterprise MyMind gave us some key tips on how to how to improve worker wellbeing and boost teamwork, including having an “open-door policy” between managers and staff


#SME Book Club delved inside the mind of one of the world’s greatest football managers with Damian Hughes’ How to Think Like Sir Alex Ferguson: The Business of Winning and Managing Success. Among other things, we learned how important it was to recruit people who were both prepared to admit their flaws and would strive to improve on them

Sir Alex Ferguson John Giles / PA Archive/Press Association Images John Giles / PA Archive/Press Association Images / PA Archive/Press Association Images

In February,’s SME focus shifts to product provenance – when buying local matters and the importance of traceability. If you have a suggestion for a specific topic you would like to see covered or an Irish business to feature, send the author an email below. To view other SME stories from our collection, click here

READ: How we fared in 2014… and the picture for the year ahead >

READ: Everything you need to know about traditional stores and e-commerce >

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