Article #27, October 31, 2004
Employee Relationships Can Make or Break Your Business
What do you do when someone quits on you? You hire someone else. And when they quit on you, then what do you do? If your employees quit on you with any regularity, there is a reason for it.
Analysis is an important component of every business action – sales, finance, advertising, etc. Almost any time you identify a trend, you either want to continue it or eliminate it. Your resources need to be used wisely; but we usually think of resources as time and money.
When it comes to human resources, the analysis and the processes are markedly more difficult than all the others put together. Just hiring the right person is a huge challenge, including at least 2 interviews and a background check. It’s also quite costly. If you hire the wrong person for the job, the least that will happen is they will quit. The worst cannot be quantified.
The least one can do to minimize their exposure to risk is to engage an expert to narrow down the prospects and help hire the right person. There are many, many executive search firms and recruiters that specialize in all different sorts of industries.
Another way to minimize risk, is to use contractors as long as possible, making sure your contractors fit the government’s description of a contractor. Temporary employees are another great alternative. However, these individuals have no vested interest in your success and may leave at any time for no reason other than they’re bored.
If you’re past the point of using contractors and temps and you need permanent employees, I strongly suggest you get some training on how to lead people. This investment up front will pay off for you forever. Having majored in management in college and having worked as a manager, I will share with you some common mistakes and some solutions.
One big mistake many managers make is ignoring their people. Hiring autonomous workers is the goal – give them the work and let them do it without looking over their shoulders. The downside of this is that the manager has a tendency to completely ignore the employee! This person wants to be acknowledged. I read that lack of acknowledgement is the number one reason people become dissatisfied with their jobs. They won’t quit right away; their productivity will suffer for a long time first.
Solution: Schedule and execute weekly meetings between every single employee with their manager – one-on-one. Do whatever you need to do to make this happen. Have realistic, quantifiable objectives for every employee to discuss during these meetings, and listen. This employee will be much happier with their job. Frankly, you can pay this employee less because they are more likely to stay with you through thick and thin if they believe you care about them as a person.
At the other end of the spectrum is the manager who watches every move the employee makes. If you hire idiots, this will not bother them as they’re used to it, but then your employees are idiots! If you hire anyone with half a brain, they won’t put up with this for long. The good news is they never get a chance to show you how great they are, so their productivity never really slows before they find another job.
Solution: Trust your people. Faith is a difficult thing, especially when it comes to your ‘baby’ (your business, that you’ve built from nothing). Your employees will make mistakes – this is a fact. They’re human. You may even lose money because of their mistakes, and it will be hard to accept. However, if you have hired well and give them the chance to succeed, they will and you will be so happy!
Difficult decisions are required to be made every day. If you feel the need to control everything in your business, maybe you would be better off staying small and not having employees. It’s your decision. If you need employees in order to achieve your goals, treat them with respect, let them do their work and acknowledge them.
It’s obviously not this simple. There have been many great books written on the subject of leadership and management, but these are the biggest mistakes I see occurring in small businesses. If this is happening in your business, take a class, read a book, talk with a consultant or coach, but fix it. Your success depends on people!