Do your employees know what they are accountable for? Are they aware of the metrics by which they are being judge for work performance? If they don’t, how can they be expected to perform at peak efficiency and effectiveness? If you’re working with on site or off site staff you need to hold your people accountable — no matter their role within the organization.
Here are tips to put an accountability policy in place:
Make sure everyone understands their roles. Job duties should be written down and readily available for all employees.
Make certain every employee knows his or her responsibility. If the roles change, make certain responsibilities, accountability and reporting metrics are updated.
Have a clear plan in place for the chain of command. Employees should know to whom they should lodge complaints, ask for help or where additional resources could come from.
Be specific in what is required from each employee and when it is required.
Get buy in when you’re setting up new roles or putting new practices into place. Buy in may take time, and while you don’t have to wait until you have 100% buy in, you should expect that your employees get on board.
Make sure there is two-way communication all the way up the chain of command.
Let your employees know you are open to hearing their thoughts, compliments and complaints.
Reward top performers. Set metrics and milestones in projects and celebrate those with employees. If money is tight, look for non monetary ways to recognize and reward effort.
Make sure everyone understands the consequences of not meeting expectations. Write down the steps involved in the consequences and follow through if needed.
Do your employees understand what they’re accountable for? When is the last time you looked at the roles and responsibilities of your staff? Do they need updating?
Are you prepared for a business disaster? It could come in many forms — power outage, loss of customers, loss of suppliers for your goods, etc. The list goes on. The wise entrepreneur knows how to prevent a business disaster and if it can’t be prevented, he or she will have back up plans in place to get the business back on track once the disaster has passed.
Here are some business practices you should have in place to help keep your business viable in the event of a disaster or emergency:
Automate computer back-ups. Don’t leave it to chance or memory that you will remember to back up your computers. Losing the knowledge base that resides in your company computers could be disastrous. There are many automated back up systems on the market, you need to determine what is best for you.
Off site back up is also important. Keep copies of vital business paperwork that is not electronic in an off-site, secure location. In many cases you won’t have to worry about storing computer disks in an off site location because your automated computer back ups will likely take place in the cloud.
Keep your computers secure and virus free. There is no excuse to not have virus protection installed on your computers. When the license is expiring, renew before you have a gap. Run any computer updates and website updates to keep your site secure.
Set up remote access to your network. If you can’t get to the office to work, having remote network access will keep your business’s doors open.
Test your system. Don’t leave it to chance that if disaster strikes that your back-ups will function properly. Testing is crucial.
Have you ever suffered a business disaster? Did you have measures in place to keep your business operational? If not, what would you do differently now?
I’ve worked with coaching clients in the past who told me, “I don’t want to offer my employee that training… what if they excel at it and then they take that knowledge and leave me for a new employer?” I urge entrepreneurs to not be so short-sighted as to stifle the growth of an employee and his or her skills because you fear they may “abandon you” if they gain knowledge. Believe me, if they were going to leave, they will leave regardless of the additional training or not because chances are, they had one foot out the door.
Don’t stifle a great employees’ desire for self improvement — you will be the ultimate beneficiary of their success, after all. Here are some of the reasons you may lose a superstar:
You don’t offer feedback. They don’t know if they are performing at, or under, par. Offer constructive criticism. Schedule time to sit down and discuss performance and where they’re hitting, or missing, the mark. Don’t let them work in the dark.
Don’t overwork your staff. Yes, many companies are doing more with less, but that can lead to employee burnout and to your best employees seeking employment where they have a personal life. Schedule time off. Don’t make them feel as though they have to be on-call 24/7 — unless the nature of your business demands it and they should be made aware of this up front.
Don’t overpromise. If you bring an employee on board with promises of “sky’s the limit” promises and you find you can’t follow through, expect them to leave. Only make commitments to your employees that you can keep.
Share the big picture. Even if an employee doesn’t have to focus on the big picture because his or her job doesn’t require being “in the know” it helps bond the team and keep everyone’s focus if they know what the ultimate goal is.
You don’t offer room for creativity. Every job has the potential for individual creativity. If you have an employee that thinks outside of the box, let them explain to you how their creative idea will impact the company and its mission and if it seems it might fit, let them run with it.
What reasons do your employees give when they tender their resignation? Could you have addressed it, had you known? Do you need to revamp policies to help keep your superstar employees?
Are great salespeople made or born? That is still a question that is up for debate. There are some things that aren’t up for debate, however and those are that there are some characteristics that top-performing sales people share. If you run a business and work with a sales force, these are some of the qualities you will want to hire for or train if you find an individual that is stellar, but who may not possess all of the following qualities.
Here is what to look for in a top-performing sales person:
They believe in your mission and your product. If they don’t believe in what you’re doing and what they are selling, the relationship will not be a successful one.
They have a positive attitude. Sure, everyone has a bad day, but if you have a sales person who lights up the room and lifts the spirits of his co-workers, you have someone with whom you want to partner.
They are engaged. If you have a sales force that likes to have fun as well as work hard — congratulations! Look for sales people who can help formulate the sales message, work with their co-workers to find solutions to challenges.
They know how to “sell” your product or service. Yes, they need to believe in the company and its mission, but they also need to know the best way to sell what you have to offer. They understand that they are more effective if they’re offering a potential client a solution to a pain point.
They are credible. In order to build a relationship with a potential client, your sales force needs to build a relationship and show they are credible and reliable. Not everyone engenders confidence and respect, but if you have someone on your sales team who does, you have a gem.
What characteristics do you find relevant? Do you have difficulty finding, or retaining, sales people who have those qualities? If so, give us a call and let’s discuss your challenges.
When you’re a business owner, you need to know and understand your income and expenses. Perhaps you don’t need to be the only one involved in your bookkeeping and spreadsheet information, but you do need to run your business like a business and that means knowing your cash flow and what it means to your business success.
Fiscal sense is crucial to your business moving forward. Fiscal sense is also an important part of proving to the IRS that you are, in fact, a legitimate entity. There are three things you need to be aware of when it comes to money management and they are:
Responsibility — you need to know who is responsible for the business and its cash flow. You need to know whether you can handle the bookkeeping and accounting needs or if you need to delegate that responsibility. You need to know who is accountable for which of the company funds, for what purpose and you need metrics in place to track the cash.
Resilience — you need to be able to bounce back from a financial set back. This could mean that you have enough operating cash flow to get you through a tough month. You should be working with your financial advisor to assure your cash flow is there to pay the bills and keep the lights on.
Reflection — take time monthly to reflect on your business cash flow successes or those areas in which you need to make some changes in order to keep moving forward with a positive cash flow. Your business budget is not a one-and-done it is a living, breathing document.
How well-versed are you with your business’s money management?