Part 1: People
I run my own web design and internet marketing agency and, over the years, I have attended several business networking events and educational management seminars. During these events, I discuss a lot of different things with my fellow business owners.
All of us were talking about different industry-specific challenges but in most cases, business owners shared one thought: “It’s hard to find good people, and even more difficult to keep the super ones.” I have been fortunate enough to have built TheeTeam of superheroes over the past 10 years now.
I asked myself and my fellow business owners:
- Why do we think finding good people is difficult?
- How do you describe a good employee?
- What can we do to transform our average employee to good, then from good to SUPER?
Lead by Example
One of the first ways to get top performance from your employees is to lead by example. Be one of the first ones in the office every day and one of the last ones to leave. This lets your people know you have strong work ethics and you are not asking more from them that you are willing to give for yourself.
Exhibit a Positive Attitude
Most small and medium size businesses experience challenges and growing pains especially in their early years. Always be open and honest to talk about these difficulties with your people but you also need to talk positively about the opportunities to be able to solve the challenges that your business is facing. Having a good business plan and sharing it with your people can be a great way to keep everyone on track and moving the business in the same direction.
Reward Good Performance
Monetary bonuses are not necessarily the best ways to reward people. It can help but employees also appreciate a few nice words or a “bonus day off” after a large but successfully executed project. The method of rewards can be vary but the result should be motivated employees.
Empower Your Employees to Satisfy Your Customers
If your front line employees can’t take care of your customers, who can? Your people should have the power and the authority to make things right within a reasonable dollar amount and know who to take the problem if the situation can’t be resolved within a reasonable budget. Establish processes for your most common scenarios and handle all unique situations on a case by case basis with a supervisor.
Seek Employee Feedback
Good business owners seek for ways to encourage their people to communicate with them. You should look for feedback on ways to improve operations, internal processes, sales methods, and generally how to do things better. One way to do this is to maintain easy access to you. So, your people can feel free to communicate their ideas with you. It’s another important rule that I learned on my own, “praise in public and criticize in private.”
Train & Cross Train Your People
I truly agree with this old adage: It’s bad if you train your people but they leave but it’s even worse if you don’t train them and they stay!
It’s a good idea to cross training your people to be able to make them to perform a variety of job functions. This helps employees feel they are more important for the company and keeps them from getting board. It also gives them a sense of job security. Cross training employees also helps the business to be more flexible if someone is out due illness or an employee leaves the company.
The Bottom Line
In short, the skills, attitude and productivity of your employees can make or break your company. Hire the right people, train them well, listen to what they have to say, and reward your best performing employees. Never forget that, great people are the greatest assets of all successful businesses.