Few businesses get maximum value from their employees. There are many reasons for this: poor selection techniques; lack of clearly measurable on job performance goals and standards, ill defined marketing clarity of both product, service and target market. These are some major reasons.
Nevertheless your employees are probably the most valuable resource you have to grow your business. It’s in your best interests their best interests and your customers’ best interests to use them as productively as possible.
And, of course it’s in the best interests of business success.
The Core Issues
To develop competent productive and committed staff you need to accept certain realities: these are core issues.
- Every employee has two jobs: his or her own job and his or her job as member of at least one work team. Remember the basic human unit in the workplace is the team. It really doesn’t matter how successful any individual employee is. If they can’t function effectively and contribute successfully to team success, they’re not contributing fully to your business success.
- Every employee must attain the performance goals set for him or her as an individual plus those set for them as team members.
- Like it or not, some jobs are more important to business success than others. Sometimes these are not the high profile, high-powered jobs that seem to be most important.
- “Business first” is the major issue that underpins employee on job performance. Employees must do best those jobs that make the greatest contribution to business success.
- The manager must clearly define the marketing focus of the business. That includes the target market for the products and services of the business. It’s also the managers’ job to ensure that all employees understand the marketing focus.
- There must be absolute clarity about “who does what around here”. Every employee must know two things: what they are trying to achieve and how it will be measured: what other employees are trying to achieve and how it will be measured.
- All jobs and teams are interdependent. On the surface, there may seem to be little relationship between the work of a receptionist/telephonist and the CEO. But how the receptionist treats a visitor can have a significant effect on how the CEO is perceived by the visitor. Some jobs and teams have clear dependencies. But they exist between all jobs and teams even when they’re not obvious.
- Within your business, every employee or team is a customer of another employee or team. Effective co-operation between individuals and teams is most important for business success.
- Your typical external customer sees your business as a whole. If the external customer has a problem with the accounts staff about the accuracy of an invoice, that customer will assume that your business has similar deficiencies in other areas.
What You Can Do
Every employee brings experience and skill to your business. Try these ideas
- Encourage employees to think in terms of business benefit and importance. When an employee makes a suggestion always ask, “How would that benefit the overall business?”
- Discourage “traditional rivalries” such as “sales and production never see eye to eye”.
- Form project groups of employees from different sections to work together to develop new systems and standards.
- Encourage the concept of “internal customer service” where each employee accepts that they are a customer of another employee or team.
- Ensure that employees accept that their first loyalty is to the success and maintenance of the business as a whole.
- Identify the most important jobs in the business: these are the jobs that matter most in determining business success. They may even be simple clerical tasks that while low profile, are essential to business success.
- Introduce at least some job rotation of these jobs so that you always have more than one employee who can do them effectively. Don’t wait until a key employee falls ill or takes annual leave.
- Ensure that every employee and every team has clearly measurable performance goals and performance standards for the work that they do.
- Give employees responsibility for all day to day routine work and for developing systems that enable that work to flow smoothly and effectively.
- Take great care with staff selection. Careful staff selection is the foundation of superior on job employee performance. Careless, hasty, “hit and miss” selection will return to haunt you.
“The difference between a lady and a flower girl is not how she behaves, it’s how she’s treated”, Playwright George Bernard Shaw said in his play, “Pygmalion”. “Pygmalion” became the basis for the acclaimed musical “My Fair Lady”.
Treat your employees as valued contributors to your business success. Anything less is counter-productive.
What To Do Now
Examine your attitude to your employees as business success contributors. What more could you be doing to help them contribute more?
Check the links in the article for more information. Please leave a comment below. And please contact me direct at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a particular issue you want help with.