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5 Must Have Tools to Attract and Retain Quality People

Have you ever noticed how some small business owners seem to be a magnet for attracting and retaining quality people while others struggle to do so? Getting the right people into your business and keeping them there is not a matter of luck. It’s a matter of choice. You must choose to make hiring, developing and retaining quality people a priority – for the sake of your customers, team members, and your business.

You don’t need to be a human resource expert to build a strong team of quality people. You simply need to make the commitment and use the tools that are already available and very under-utilized by many small business owners.

Tools For Developing a Winning Team

Job Descriptions.  A good hiring system will always include a job description to outline the duties and responsibilities. Remember to also include the skills and competencies that will be needed to perform the tasks. Many skills are transferable, from job to job and industry to industry. So consider both skills and tasks when hiring and ensure your job descriptions include both.

Performance Feedback Process.  Employees need feedback to continue to develop and improve. A good process has two purposes. First, to facilitate discussion on goals and skills. Second, to help team members develop their potential so they can take on new challenges and responsibilities. If you won’t take the time to provide feedback, you will get the employees you deserve. The poor performers will stay, the good performers will leave.

Employee Handbook.  These are more than just a tool to reduce legal risks. Sure they provide employees with written policies on such topics as discrimination, sexual harassment, and family leave. But a good handbook offers a lot more. It includes your vision and mission for the business and expectations for your team.  It also provides relevant information on benefits, holidays, vacation, work hours, how performance is measured and expectations regarding the use of the internet, cell phones, and social media

While some of the policies are guided by law, the majority of the policies are determined by you, the business owner. The handbook simply provides a written method to communicate what’s important to your current and future employees.

Engage and Reward Your Team

Engaging Team Meetings.  Meetings for the sake of meeting are a waste of everyone’s time, but pulling together the team with a clear purpose gets peopled engaged and keeps communication open. Pulling people together to brainstorm new ideas, work together to solve a problem or make improvements in the business can pay huge dividends beyond the bottom line.

Add some fun. Recognize individual accomplishments. Share the good news about the business: new customers, sales growth, productivity improvements, customer testimonials, and reviews. Whether you do them monthly or quarterly will depend on the business. But do them.

Performance Bonus Program.  Many small businesses build their compensation around one thing – salaries and wages. While wages are important, they are fixed and generally go up annually based on individual performance. Performance bonuses are an easy way to financially reward people when and if the business achieves its financial or other goals.

Unlike wages, a bonus is not guaranteed.  It is only paid if the goals are achieved. A bonus program provides flexibility since you can modify the business goals and amount annually as the business grows. Keep it simple.  The best programs are easy to understand, implement and track. When done well, a performance bonus program motivates employees, helps change behaviors, and creates actions needed to achieve results.

Power Your Goals By Sharing With Team

The tools above are of little value if you don’t have written goals that you are willing to share with your team. Where do you want the business to go? What goals do you want to accomplish? Be clear on these and share them with those that can help you make it happen – your people!

And when they do, remember these words from Sam Walton, ‘Nothing else can quite substitute for a few well-chosen, well-timed, sincere words of praise. They’re absolutely free and worth a fortune’.

If you are ready to build a better team, start integrating these into your business. Take it one at a time, if necessary – but do it. Then you too can be a magnet for attracting and retaining quality people!

Ready to Put Your Business on the Path to Success?

Would working with a business coach help you take your business to a whole new level? Then let’s explore the possibilities with a complimentary consultation. It’s a chance to get to know each other, discuss your goals and the obstacles that hold you back. Together we can determine if there is a good fit between your needs and my services.

To learn more or schedule an appointment, call me at (856) 533-2344 or drop me an email Joan@HybridBizAdvisors.com

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Is Your Team Sitting on the Sidelines?

Did you ever notice how some businesses have awesome people, those who are committed to customers and each other?  It shows in everything they do.  They go out of their way to help.  And look for ways to improve themselves and those around them.  These employees are quite simply worth their weight in gold.   And what a difference it makes for YOU, the business owner!

Team Building Secret

So what’s their team-building secret?  It’s not about paying them a lot of money, but do pay them what they are worth.  It’s not about giving them weeks of paid vacation – although paid time off is always appreciated.  You may be surprised to learn that two of the best ways to build a strong team costs you very little.

#1 – Get Them Engaged.

Consider the words of Vince Lombardi, “Individual commitment to a group effort is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work and a civilization work.”  Individual commitment comes from participation and understanding.  The more involved your team is, the more committed they are to its success.  And since some of the best ideas for business growth and improvement come from employees, it’s time to get them engaged.  Then everyone wins!

#2 – Show Appreciation.

As human beings, we want recognition and need to feel appreciated. It’s natural.  In April we celebrate employees with employee appreciation day.  But what do you do the other 51 weeks in the year?  Again, it’s not about money.  Yes, token gifts or group lunches are nice; but simple things like thank you for a job well done, recognizing them in front of peers and customers, and soliciting their suggestions goes a long way.  All it takes is a little forethought and some of your time!

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team

10 Tips to Develop Your Dream Team

When it comes to business, profit is important, but cash is king! The same analogy can be made when it comes to your dream team. Hiring well is important, but retention is king.

The cost of hiring, training and the temporary loss of productivity represents thousands of dollars for most small businesses. The return on this investment depends on two things: (a) how long employees stay and (b) how much they contribute when they are there.

Every successful entrepreneur knows that a strong team makes it possible to accomplish great things. But dream teams don’t just happen.  They are developed over time and require commitment at all levels, starting with you, the owner and leader of your company.

10 Tips to Develop Your Dream Team

Set Clear Expectations with SMART Goals. In sports, teams measure success through wins and losses. How will your team members measure their success? If you want them to meet your expectations, you must be clear on what you want. This starts with goals that are specific and measurable. If you want a 20% growth in revenue, a 10% reduction in rejects or a 12% reduction in A/R days outstanding – tell them what you want. Then everyone is on the same page.

Have Common Goals. While every employee should have individual goals for their position, business goals shared by the entire team are also important. In addition to promoting teamwork, common goals provide a way for team members to link their individual goals to the overall business results.

Develop Action Plans. Goals are important, but without supporting strategies and tasks, it is difficult for the team to get there. Identify what needs to be done (strategies and tactics) to achieve the goals, then assign responsibilities and due dates for completion.

Engage and Involve. Strong teams are committed to the success of the business and each other. Consider the words of Vince Lombardi, “Individual commitment to a group effort is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work and a civilization work.” Individual commitment comes from participation and understanding. The more we involve our team in the business, the more committed they are to its success. And since some of the best ideas for business growth and improvement come from employees, it’s time to get them engaged. Then everyone wins!

Support Risk Taking. Team members need to be able to make decisions and keep moving if they are going to achieve results. When they understand the goals and have the tools and parameters to make good decisions, you need to allow them to do so. Recognize that mistakes may happen – support them in the decision but help them learn from the mistake so it’s not repeated. Without your support, they will be reluctant to make decisions, big or small.

Reward Results, Not Time. Too often owners recognize effort and hours worked instead of results achieved. When we focus only on hours or time worked, we ignore two critical profit indicators – efficiency and productivity. Comments like, ‘John really put in a lot of hours last week, thank you’ really sends out the wrong message. Instead, focus on the contribution he made. For example, ‘John really stepped up last week while Sam was out, so we met all our customer deadlines – thanks John for making it happen’. Eliminate references to time and start building a team that works smart and delivers results.

Invest in Training. One of the best ways you can demonstrate your commitment to employees is by investing time or dollars in training and development. Research has shown that companies that invest in training have consistently higher employee satisfaction and retention. The good news here is that technology has made this much more affordable for small businesses.

Use a Performance Review Process. Employees want and need feedback so they continue to develop and improve. While many focus on the legal and risk avoidance aspects, successful entrepreneurs understand that a good performance review process has two purposes. First, to facilitate discussion on goals and skills. Second, to help team members develop their potential so they can take on new challenges and responsibilities. Ensure your annual process incorporates interim feedback discussions too. If your team is involved in developing their goals and committed to success, they want and need the feedback – and will go elsewhere if they don’t get it.

Systematize the Routine. Teams that have systems in place will typically outperform those that do not because they operate more efficiently. They know what needs to be done, learn to depend on others to do their part and are ready to take advantage of opportunities that arise. Take the time to document the key procedures in your business and watch your team’s productivity and satisfaction soar!

Make Meetings Count. Team meetings can be a great team building tool, but only if done right. Getting your team together to brainstorm new ideas, recognize individual or team successes or work together on a current business challenge can be a huge benefit. Keep them interactive and never hold a meeting to communicate ‘updates’ that you could have done by email. Whether you do them monthly or quarterly, make team meetings part of your culture.

So there it is. Remember, you don’t need to implement these all at once. Prioritize them for your business and start with one. Then add another and another. Dream teams are built over time, but each step you take moves you closer to the team you want.

Ready to Put Your Business on the Path to Success?

Would working with a business coach help you take your business to a whole new level? Then let’s explore the possibilities with a complimentary consultation. It’s a chance to get to know each other, discuss your goals and the obstacles that hold you back. Together we can determine if there is a good fit between your needs and my services.

To learn more or schedule an appointment, call me at (856) 533-2344 or drop me an email Joan@HybridBizAdvisors.com

delegation

7 Keys to Effective Delegation

As an entrepreneur, delegation is an essential management and leadership skill. It obviously saves you time, helps you avoid burnout and allows you to work on more critical tasks. But often overlooked are the benefits it provides to others in your company. Effective delegation helps you develop, empower and motivate your team – a key to retention and employee satisfaction.

When you entrust others to take on important tasks or projects, you send a message that says, “I believe you can do this.” It gives employees a chance to learn new skills and builds their confidence. It also opens the door for them to take on additional responsibilities and contribute more to the success of the business. When used properly, delegation really is a great team building tool.

How to Delegate Better

  • Engage People. If you pay people and tell them what to do, will things get done the way you want? Most of us realize it’s not that simple. Getting work done through others requires engagement and persuasion. Remember the Chinese proverb, “Tell me I’ll forget. Show me, I may remember. But involve me and I’ll understand.” Effective delegation requires a two-way conversation and works best when you get people engaged.
  • Provide Clear Direction. Asking an employee to ‘take care of it’ is fine for routine tasks that they have done before. But taking on new tasks or projects requires direction and communication. Be specific and set clear expectations relating to goals, activities, and authority. A written procedure is a definite plus as it helps with the how-to and resources the individual may need to accomplish the work.
  • Invest Time Now. In most cases, doing it yourself is faster than teaching someone else – the first time. But investing the time upfront to teach and motivate the employee will pay off down the road. The work gets done right and produces the desired outcome without your day-to-day involvement.
  • Don’t Abdicate. Delegation is about giving responsibility and appropriate authority to others – not relinquishing all accountability. As the business owner, you can’t simply pass the buck and walk away. Provide guidance, get feedback, track results and hand out praise as appropriate.
  • Start Small. If delegating is a challenge for you, start with less-urgent or non-critical tasks and projects. You will still need to provide direction and guidance, but it is less problematic when you eliminate tight deadlines. While the employee benefits from learning something new, you will see first-hand that others CAN do it just as well – if not better!
  • Match Skills With People. In small businesses, employees often wear a lot of hats and may have skills outside their normal job responsibilities. Delegation allows you to tap into different talents or experiences and expand their skills through a team project. It’s also a good way to create a sense of belonging – a key to job satisfaction.
  • Recognize and Reward. Delegating is easy when your people WANT to take on new challenges and work. If you want them to go the extra mile or step up and take on more responsibility, develop a reputation as someone who appreciates and recognizes good work! Pay increases, bonuses, and promotions are obvious ways to incentivize people. But rewards do not always need to be wage or salary based. A personal thank you note, special luncheon, recognition at a team meeting, gift cards or paid time off work too! Match the reward to the project or task – and always say thank you for a job well done.

Documented procedures make hiring and training people easier. But they also make delegation a lot more effective too! So don’t underestimate the value of systems when it comes to improving your delegation skills!

Related Article: How Your People and Systems Power Profit and Success

New Monthly Article & Business Tools

For new business improvement articles, exclusive tools and insights on entrepreneurship, click here to subscribe to my monthly eNewsletter. When you do, I’ll also send you my free eBook, How to Build Profit Through Leverage.