I meet with business owners every day and guess what? The same employee issues keep them all awake at night. The headaches are the same and the time involved is always more than they counted on and the outcomes are usually less than satisfactory. The vast majority of business owners don’t start their businesses because they have a strong desire to manage employees – they start because they are extremely passionate about their service or offering. The issue is that growing a business needs employees – like it or lump it! Many of us did not study Management or Human Resources at Uni, so dealing with employees can be challenging at the best of times. So what are the seven mistakes most business owners are making:
- Hiring the wrong candidates – most employers don’t spend enough time devising a recruitment process to attract and hire the best talent. They typically talk too much during the interview and have a poor questioning technique. Interview questions focus on the technical rather than the behavioural and cultural. There are not enough reference or background checks being made. Over 10% of my clients have experienced significant employee fraud and two have lost over $150k to employee theft!
- Not knowing what each employee is doing – and what they are responsible for – let alone how the roles work together. This makes it hard to optimise productivity
- Getting their wires crossed – not fully understanding where the business is heading and, more importantly, what success looks like. Employees are working against each other and they don’t know if the owner thinks they are doing a fabulous or disastrous job. If feedback is given, it probably isn’t timely
- The workplace doesn’t have a soul – no thought has been given to what the business culture is. How would employees describe what it’s like to work for you or your company? The culture or feel of the place is most likely nondescript or bland. To win the war for talent you want the best and brightest approaching you for work
- Not firing enough employees – very few people like to be the bad guy but too often they hang on to non-performers or don’t look to restructure the business to remain nimble and competitive. When they do get around to firing someone because they’ve just had enough, they do in incorrectly and expose themselves to litigation
- No one knows what they can and can’t do – your team doesn’t know what is deemed appropriate behaviour in the workplace. To grow quickly and to avoid legal issues you do need some structure and policies in place – this also means you won’t be asked the same question over and over again
- An apple a day is not enough to keep the Dr away – the vast majority of businesses are risking large fines with Workplace Health & Safety breaches. Do you have a WH&S policy? Are you aware of your personal responsibility to exercise your ‘Duty of Care Diligence’? WH&S is mandatory.
How many of these mistakes are you making? Alternatively, what have you done in the employee space that has transformed your business? Eradicating these mistakes from your business will reduce your legal risk, improve employee motivation and increase productivity. It will also improve your ability to scale quickly with fewer growing pains. Remember your employees really do matter and happy employees = increased profitability + less stress for you + lower costs + more time. Now find me a business owner than doesn’t want more of that!