There’s something stirring in the small business world that bothers me, so today I thought I’d talk about it. More and more frequently I hear war stories of small business owners who have big issues with the team members they’ve hired to help them grow their business. It doesn’t matter whether the team members are contract workers or regular employees.
From the small business owner’s perspective, the issues seem to be:
- Team members not being accountable for the time they work.
- Team members starting to show disinterest, lack of follow through, or sloppy work.
- Team members not showing up when expected or performing at a less than needed level.
It’s definitely true that it is far more difficult to find qualified team members now than it was 10 years ago. Despite all the talk about a waning economy some people who need work just do not have the skills needed to be a team member for a constantly-changing small business. Why? Because you need team members with a high level of competence in technical skills as well as great interpersonal skills. So if you have found team members, you want to do all you can to bring them up to speed about your business, your work style, and your expectations.
Here are my top 5 suggestions for you:
- Make pay incentive based when you can. People perform when they have skin in the game. If you are paying on a commission basis increase the commission after certain levels of performance have been reached.
- Spend time getting to know your team members, find out what each one really loves and does super-well. You may find ways a person can help you even more than you thought was possible at first.
- Get the team together (even if it is virtual) on a weekly basis. Talk about where you business is going so that people can share your vision. Don’t just hand them unrelated tasks to do – they can’t see the whole of where you are going.
- Invest in your team members. If someone has completed their probationary period consider paying for training they need to do your work. Start small, but invest.
- Expect super-high performance, and set the standard by making sure your performance is high. For example, don’t expect team members to show up to a virtual or live meeting on time if you are consistently 5 minutes late.
My two main beliefs (based on years of experience in leading teams as large as 52 people doing millions of dollars worth of work each year) are these:
- Hire slowly and fire quickly. When it starts feeling off nip it right then.
- Hire for attitude and train for the skills you need (if at least basic skills are present). No matter how tech-savvy someone is, a bad attitude will make your life miserable.
Do you need help in creating or managing your team? You can work with me in a One and Done session by clicking here.