Are you getting the best out of your people? Are they getting the best out of you?
I have met many owners who mistakenly believe that this is unimportant, that if staff aren’t happy that there are plenty more to take their place!
Wrong! Remember the goal here is to make your business “investor ready” or alternatively have a consistently profitable business which operates without you.
Investors aren’t interested in buying a company with high staff turnover, low morale, quality issues and customer service issues.
Investors are interested in buying a company, which is in fact run by employees who are supported by systems, have clear objectives and a product which fills a need.
Your people therefore, are important. Start by re-interviewing them, yes even if they have been with the company several years.
You wouldn’t believe the number of times I have heard a business owner complain about a certain skills shortage, not realizing that they actually employ someone with that very skill-set. I remember a client in the construction industry, who desperately needed a detailer, yet was unaware that an “unskilled” worker on his factory floor had seven years experience detailing homes!
So listen to the people you have in your organization, to their grievances, their aspirations, their ideas, their wants and needs. It’s a guaranteed win/win.
Hopefully you have had a Strategy Workshop with your team where you created a road-map for your business?
Well now it’s time to create one for your employees.
What do they aspire to? How can you help and how does it help you? Create a skills matrix for all your employees, you will immediately see the weaknesses in your organisation – fill these first; e.g. if you only have one person who can do a particular process such as set up a machine in your production department make it a priority to up-skill at least two other employees to do this process.
A few years ago, just before going out on my own, I had the dilemma of basically trying to achieve 4 months work in 6 weeks. Guess what! With the privilege of a well-honed skills matrix and employee buy-in to the project we got it over the line. Set a budget for training, encourage all employees to progress, organise regular internal training sessions, not only on manufacturing processes but also on customer service, negotiating, products, sales, time management etc.
Encourage professional and personal development outside of the company. Create job descriptions for each role, include responsibilities and KPIs. Implement performance appraisals and stick to them. Consider 360-degree performance appraisals where you seek feedback from the employee about their superiors and from external and internal customers and suppliers regarding your employees.To fully profit from this type of appraisal, the objective must be to improve your business as a whole rather than randomly pick on criticisms.
Appreciate your people, involve them in decision making, encourage innovation,empower them to be creative, most importantly get their buy-in on where the company is going, do this by explaining the WIIFM (what’s in it for me).
On several occasions I have seen production practically double by simply involving those who know best, the very people who do the job every day; seek their advice. If it was their company what would they do differently? Explain for example that you need to ramp up production in order to get that important order, how can it be done?
On one occasion, I had a client who was stressing that he needed more welders, better welders, more commitment etc. After a brief discussion with the welding team where I asked questions, then listened to what they could do to make it happen, we managed (with some investment) to get the number of unit produced daily from 8 to 14. That’s a 75% increase in production.
What’s that worth to you? Let your employees’ offer the solutions and you can be sure that they will be committed to making it happen.
Create an environment that encourages people to give their best, to grow along with the company.
Again, remember the goal is to make your business investor ready.