Balancing business growth and keeping work quality with staff
A growing business may feel that as the business grows with it comes challenges in keeping staff output as high. The quandary is a good sole operator eventually hits the ceiling in output, but done poorly growth with staff can lead to poorer business work quality. How can you grow with good staff output is the topic of this post. Here are some tips:
- Keep focus on old clients, while we tend to over focus on new client generation and then neglect existing clients. Make sure your work on top clients remains high and this can be done by prioritising supervision on these clients by the business owner. That is high value use of their time.
- Make sure fundamentals of your systems are right. As you ramp up sales these will be tested and weaknesses exposed.
- People often ask – When can you afford to hire staff? Am I ready? Have a look forward and see what work is coming in. Often you need the staff to incentive you to get the work or free you up to get more work. Yes it is a risk and you may feel you are not ready – but many business owners say you never will feel ready and that is often one of their best moves to take on staff. Also it may not work out with the first staff you hire, so keep trying and you will also improve at developing them too. You can learn how to be a better staff manager and eventually get better at having staff yourself.
- But my staff will never be as good as me?… Have you thought that or heard that before. Your time is limited so creating staff that can do more and more tasks for you will pay dividends in saving your time. Recognise your role will transition and see where your time is best used… is it on strategy – getting out there for sales… improving systems… new product development… the sweeper keeping problems fixed or keeping it on rails or training staff or all of the above.
- Obviously the right staff team and members is critical. So what to do best here … probe for the values and work ethics of staff, learn to get the most out of working with the young generation (typically different from you they may seem less committed, work less hours, easier to de motivate, generally get less sweat on their hands, desire greater flexibility), integrity, employ on culture will they fit in. Perhaps check on their social media behavior. Ask who do you live with? what have you achieved (or done on your own)? what do your parents do? who are you mentors or influencers ?(who you hang out with shapes you). When hire show gratitude, compliment, pass on positive feedback and appreciate the good effort or extra work. Communication is vital. Try more sensitive ways to improve staff by saying, you are right but also try to do this. Ask Is this too much for you? Are you finding this hard? What can we do better? What do you want more of in your role? Have a regular staff meetings to explore them doing more and improving.
- Keep Staff happy with more learning, involvement (if they know more about the overall big picture of the business it can great help them feel more involved and happy – give them the license to do things for you initiative within reason and trust.
- Owners should stay in touch with systems and get into them from time to time – they do need reviews and evolutions from time to time. Also, have critical points where owners need to check on staff before it proceeds to prevent mistakes, gain from their experience and judgement. Enhance staff training and development.
- When you lose staff learn from it – do an exit interview. When you have a bad member in the team, take action. Persist with the wrong person is poor for your business, make the hard decision and remove wrong staff when you need to, while doing it professionally respectfully and legally minimising risks.
- Always have a backup up – anyone can leave you any time – they don’t care if it is a bad time for the owner. Have you got a backup in case any of your staff leaves?
- Have a succession plan – drag up your staff to higher roles
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