I was recently at a meeting where people were talking or more accurately whining about their employees who were not performing to what their expectations were.  I sat there and listened and thought to myself that these owners were missing some key points about the people that worked for them.  The owners complaints were about bonuses they paid their employees that they didn’t think their employees earned.

My thought was that their employees were probably just fine.  I think the expectations of the employers, all of whom had less than five employees were missing some key issues.  This group of owners had not set the tone in their company for what they expected.  This left their employees to make up what they should do which apparently wasn’t what the owners wanted them to do.

While this conversation was going on I had a few thoughts:

Doesn’t it make sense for a company to first think about culture and expectations before putting together a compensation design for its employees? 

I bet these employees all wanted to do a great job.  I also bet that they had never been given clear outlines for what the owners of these micro-businesses expected.  There is one thing I can be sure of; the employees are not going to be able to read the minds of the people they work for.

My question is if you want your employees to perform in a certain way, doesn’t it make sense for you to let them know what you expect?  Why would they be able to figure it out?  If you’re unhappy with what’s going on, it would do you well to speak up.

I’m sure none of the owners in the group I was speaking with had done any of these things.  They were unhappy and I’m going to be their employees were unhappy also.  I bet both groups had expectations that weren’t being met.

I believe a good starting place would be for both the owner and their employees to have a conversation about what each expects.  Better yet, if the owners think about what the purpose of their company is they will likely be able to communicate their needs in a way their staff can get excited about.

What about you?  Do you have clear expectations for what you expect from your people?

You always want to start with what your company is about and what it does. 

In my world, this means you develop a mission statement that everyone can understand.  You then integrate that mission statement into everything you do.

This allows your employees to decide if your company is the place they want to work.  They also now have a method for understanding what’s important for you.  After your people understand your mission you’re in a position to start thinking about what your compensation package looks like.

Paying a bonus is fine, only if your employees understand why they got the bonus and what they had to do to earn the extra money. 

The employees of all the companies represented at the meeting got part of the revenue the company owners earned.  Many of these employees were integral in profits being earned.

If the owners thought about the work their employees did that allowed the revenue to be earned, they might concentrate on the results their employees produced and not how much time their employees were in the office.

You pay your employees to produce a result.  If you are happy with the result your employees produce then forget the hours.  If you’re not happy with the results you’re getting, concentrate on what it takes to get a result you’d be happy with.

I find that many micro-business owners really hate managing others. 

I think this might be why micro-businesses never grow past one or two employees.  The owners aren’t willing to step outside of their worker role and become a supervisor and coach.  If that sounds like you, then you need to accept this and realize you might not be the best manager of others.  If you want to move past this role, you will need to learn new skills.  If you successfully learn these skills you’ll have a chance of growing a bigger business.

What about you?  Are you willing to let your employees know what they need to do for success?  Why don’t you let me know in the comments below what you do in your company to produce alignment between you and your employees?

Topics: Creating Value, employee relations, Business Strategies, culture

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