What is the Behavior of your Small Business Employees Telling You?
Managing a business is not easy all alone, but inevitably when other people get brought into the equation things get simultaneously more easy and more difficult. While well trained employees who have been given leadership skills represent a major asset on the part of small business, the more people are added to a staff, the more the sense of accountability in in environment is diffused unless steps are taken to preserve it. Business owners may not always have the time or resources to check up on an in depth level with all of their employees, but when they recognize consistent indicators that something needs correcting, it falls to them to make sure that they take the initiative to follow up on their observations and diagnose any potential issues before they turn into something that can be potentially highly detrimental to the health of their enterprise.
There is a difference between problem employees and ones that are not engaged. A problem employee under the best of circumstances will not rise to the occasion and handle the roles that they are responsible for, whereas an employee that is not engaged can be brought to a higher state of productivity with the right level of outreach. Some signs that you are dealing with an engagement problem are having projects meet deadlines and otherwise quality work being delivered, but when you walk through the office it seems like nobody is paying attention to the tasks that they have been given. When productive workers are given something to do and they handle it, they may or may not move on to doing something else that is also productive without being given a directive. A remedy for this type of problem is making sure that your employees have protocols set up for when they are done with their assignments and making their managers aware of when they need more tasks or direction on what they should be working on.
Do your employees avoid giving feedback, even when encouraged? If you have an excessively difficult time getting your employees to share feedback about your business processes, it is likely that they are simply scared. Employees who are scared to speak up can be a symptom of a larger morale problem, which can in turn lead to many adverse effects through a lack of productivity to high turnover which can drain the finances and time resources of a business significantly. If you find that your employees will not engage with you, their boss, you can either try to soften your approach to management or appoint managers who you trust to collect feedback in your stead. Feedback from employees is important for making sure that your workers are not being overly taxed, that they are reporting positive customer reactions and many other barometers of organizational competence.
Do your employees fight between themselves? If you have employees who are constantly at each other’s throats, then it may be the case that your conflict resolution skills are not enough to remedy what might be a deeper problem within your business. What is causing these employees to fight in the first place? If it is not work related, then you need to impress upon the employees involved that their negative behavior is inappropriate and out of context in your office. If it is a work related issue, then you may have found a major blockage in your productivity that should be addressed as quickly as possible. When things are going smoothly it is rare that there will be tension between employees for no reason.
Photo Credit to Seattle Municipal Archives on Flickr