Hi, FieldInsight Blog readers. I hope you’re all well and kicking goals in your business this week!
Having a team member who is not actively contributing to the success of your business is costing your business! Trying to minimise that impact and not open yourself up to a can of “legal woes” is one of the hardest questions a small business owner has to answer.
When something goes pear-shaped / wrong with managing a staff member, it opens you up to a lot of angst and costs you productive time. No one likes that sort of discussion/confrontation but you have a business to run and you have to handle it.
It may have started with the technician not following an instruction, you feel like they’ve ignored you. Where does the blame lie? And this is easy to say, but it’s true that you need to analyze the problem and the first port of call is your own systems.
You need to check that you actually have a system in place for the thing you’re asking them to do.
Is it documented, have they been trained on it, are they aware of it – dont assume!
This is where you need to ensure you have an induction/employee checklist when you on-board a new person to the team (whether they are out in the field or managing operations from the office). This should cover all the key elements of their job, processes and minimum standards.
The second thing is your own behaviour.
Are you following the systems? Are you upholding your end of the agreement? Are you being consistent in how you expect things to be done – are the rest of the team doing it consistently?
You need to ensure you have a quality process for how you hire new staff….take the time to get this right, include behavioural questions that will sound out how they handle difficult situations and get a sense of their values – are they consistent with the companies?.
Doing this right up front you can avoid problems down the line. We will cover how to build an ‘A Team’ in a future blog.
Lastly, how is their behaviour impacting the business, other team members, quality of the work or assessment of risk? Maybe a genuine reprimand is required because they haven’t completed the task as expected or is it really bad (systemic issue) and maybe a formal warning is required.
There are levels of severity of behaviour that should be clear to everyone that you will not tolerate.
Having a procedure for everything is what I’m realizing is absolutely core to growing your business and building a team. It’s a non-negotiable part of having a business, whether it’s just you by yourself or managing a team of 10+ people – because procedures allow you to execute faster and consistently and they allow you to have continuous improvement and a basis by which to measure performance.
So just back on how do you correct and adjust the expectations for what your team are doing
- Provide clear guidance (documented)
- Provide structure for the tasks you want them to do
- Let them know how they will be assessed
But one of the best mechanisms and probably the only reliable mechanism you have, isn’t yelling at them and turning beetroot red and screaming at them and thinking that’s going to fix it – or repeatedly saying the same thing over and over again, that’s probably the definition of insanity rather than a path to you being happy with their performance. The best way is:
- Setting up intelligent meetings (not long meetings) – status updates
- Work out the information you want from them, don’t let the meeting go into anything other than that, have an agenda
- You’re going to give me this data, I might give you some feedback on that data
- Give me your stats on jobs / work completed
- Outline the interactions with customers,
- Were processes followed
How to avoid managing a staff member to this level of detail:
Build a Winning Team where everyone wants to celebrate success and support those who are struggling.
Start with regular Team Meetings. You get everyone together once a month and you have a chinwag and supply them with some cookies or muffins, you get their feedback, that retrospective meeting (what went well, not so well and what needs to change).
Here is where issues can start to show (as there is now visibility and a bit of the herd mentality – they are doing more/less than me…); everyone gets to hear what everyone else is doing and/not doing and you get the chance to get on the front foot.
Not acting at this early stage can exacerbate the problem and at worst may be letting the team think this type of behaviour is acceptable.
Short and sharp, to the point, not wishy-washy. Set up the agenda, execute. And the shorter you can keep a meeting, the more likely you are to wanna hold that meeting again, and the more likely people are wanting to attend it.
Everyone’s time is valuable, so respect it and keep the meetings short.
In the event you need to manage a staff member
Make sure you review your rights as a business that respects your employee’s right but also allows you to reach an outcome that allows you to continue running your business with minimal impact. Some suggestions:
- Know your jurisdictional rights (here are some Australian based ones):
- Letting staff go (next weeks blog will talk to this)
- Understanding options for a dispute
For further information, you can refer to the Australian Department of Industry Innovation & Science, the Australian Taxation Office or Fair Work Australia.
How can a Job Management software solution help? Glad you asked….We can help by providing relevant checklists, standardised workflows and auditing to help manage your team safely in the field and more importantly that your staff are completing their tasks to expected process / standards.