Hiring people is one of those important milestones that every business owner inevitably comes across. Yet, it’s one thing to hire people – and another thing entirely to build a strong team. If you want to create a successful service-based business, you need a team of rock stars.
Once you’ve passed the threshold of hiring your first employee, it’s time to start looking deeper at how you can influence your employees to reach their fullest potential.
I operate a service-based business and have discovered first-hand what it takes to run a team of people. I’m constantly exploring new ways of helping them operate at their best. I’ve discovered what works and what doesn’t.
I backed up my own results with some research to help show you exactly how your team operating at its highest level.
1. Clearly Define Expectations and Responsibilities
Entirely too many business owners hire employees without detailing expectations and responsibilities. Of course, the job responsibilities are typically highlighted in the job posting and discussed in the interview, but that’s not enough.
Without providing this structure, your new hire can’t succeed. It’s up to you to provide him the resources and information needed to do his job and contribute to department goals.
Don’t rely on a conversation to clearly define expectations.
Make it a formal document and request that they refer to it often during their first few months. Defining performance expectations has been shown to create employees who perform well.
Sit down and write out the expectations and responsibilities for every role in your company. You can even include yourself. Provide that material to future and present employees, and you’ll be well on your way to having high performing people.
2. Provide the Right Equipment and Materials
If I hired you to dig a ditch and set the expectation that it needs to be three feet deep and twenty feet long, then left, what would you do? Would you start digging with your hands? Or would you wonder why I didn’t give you a shovel and quit?
Don’t do that to your employees.
Provide your people with everything they need to get the job done – and get it done well. Many of the same tools that all business owners should be using can also be provided to employees.
Examine each role in your organization and discover the right tools for people in those roles. You will also benefit by providing employees with detailed training materials about their role.
3. Give Regular Recognition and Praise
There are seemingly endless benefits of providing employee recognition, such as retaining quality talent and emphasizing company values.
Think about your company culture and your existing team members.
What types of recognition and praise will they respond to? The right answer will vary dramatically from business to business. One great way to find out is to simply ask your employees what will help them feel recognized. Don’t be surprised if you hear gift cards, cash prizes and the latest tech gadgets as the answer.
Providing praise doesn’t have to cost you a dime, either.
Peppering in “great job,” when it’s deserved will go far. Sending company-wide “kudos” emails can also be motivational when a team member does something truly amazing.
4. Care About Each Employee as a Person
Some businesses treat employees as assets. They invest in their salary and expect a certain result.
While this perspective makes sense from a business standpoint, it sure is impersonal. It’s why working for large corporations has become less desirable for many employees; they want to be treated like people.
Go out of your way to care about every employee as an individual. Learn their life story, future dreams and everything in between. I’m not suggesting you do this during the interview, but over the course of employment, get to know them.
Caring about them as people is also evident by the benefits you provide. Even if a certain health care package costs more, invest in it!
Many professionals care more about the benefits than raw salary these days.
5. Make Sure Everyone’s Opinion is Heard
Employees want their input to be heard and validated. Even if you don’t enact their feedback, listening and acknowledging what they have to say will go far.
Spend some time to learn how to become a great listener, such as identifying nonverbal cues and avoiding distractions.
Many business owners have an open door policy and a suggestion box, but get creative and try something new.
Create an entire process for soliciting employee opinions. Remix the open door policy by specifically having time where you ask people to come share work-related opinions. Call people in just to hear how they’re feeling about their job.
6. Offer Opportunities to Learn and Grow
The type of team members you want will yearn for growth. If you hire a writer, they will likely already strive to be the best writer they can be.
Offer paid opportunities for employees to learn new skills and enhance their value to the company.
Ongoing training programs are perfect for imparting new knowledge and skills. Giving employees paid “free time” to explore new subjects and topics may also be effective.
Chunk out one hour per week for everyone to dive into whatever topic they want to learn more about. If they discover a new passion, encourage them to talk to you about it. If relevant to your business, you can then create new training programs based on what they discover.
Not only does this make employees enjoy their job more, but it also helps improve your bottom line. Giving free time and creating training programs is much less expensive than hiring new employees to handle new roles.
7. Look to Promote Internally Instead of Externally
As your company grows, promote from within.
Not only does this encourage employees to stick around, but it means that you’re continually investing in your own organization. If you hire someone at an entry level position, and grow them into a skilled manager, you’ll have a loyal and effective leader.
External hires are sometimes necessary, but make it a point to hire internally whenever you can. If employees know that there’s room for advancement, they’re less likely to look elsewhere to grow their careers.
You Need a Team of Senior Level Employees
Some business models have a place for employees who just want to clock in, do something easy, and clock out. Data entry is still a thing, right?
Any service-based business absolutely needs employees who are motivated and ready to learn. Building a company that intentionally helps employees reach their full potential is a company destined for long-term success.
What have you done to help bring out the best in your people? Would you add anything to this list? Would you take anything off this list? Let us know!