In the course of working with my clients I am often asked to help with personnel issues ranging from hiring, to termination, to rehabilitation and everything in between. In the markets we serve, which are the owners of SMBs, it is more likely than not there will be no HR department, or anyone in the company with the experience and skills to handle the variety of people issues which arise. Because my experience includes over 25 years in corporations, most of those in management positions overseeing staff from entry level to director level I am able to help my clients with even the stickiest employee related issues. And in the event a situation requires greater expertise my large network allows me to locate the right resource to help.
A common phenomenon I see in the SMBs I work with is that many times employees are family and/or friends, or the owners feel an obligation to keep long time employees on when it is no longer in the best interest of the business. Family and friends as employees present its’ own challenges as we can all imagine.
Once I have been with a business owner long enough to establish the “trusted advisor” relationship they will almost always ask my advice in personnel related issues. Most commonly it is either an issue of under-performance or attitude. Under-performance issues are very straightforward to address. We can document the acceptable level of performance, clearly communicate that to the employee, put measurements in place to track improvement, and give the employee access to any training necessary to be successful. They will either be successful or not, in which case the decision is apparent.
Attitude issues are much more harmful to a business. Owners often ignore the issue because they don’t want to confront an employee, or they will make excuses for the behavior. In every case I advise the owner too promptly and very directly address the issue otherwise the situation will get worse the disgruntled employee will poison the environment. And by addressing the issues I mean replace the employee.
When recruiting to fill a position it is always important to try to find someone with the right skills to do the job, but are skills the most important thing to assess? NO! The most important aspect to assess is attitude. Virtually any skill in an SMB can be trained in fairly short order if the employees have good education and attitude. You can’t train someone to have a good attitude.
As a business owner, imagine that every single employee loved and appreciated their job, got along well with every other employee, and never complained about work, co-workers, customers, the hours, weekend work, etc. A situation like that would be wonderful. And, it’s easy. Just make sure that all employees in your business have good attitudes. Of course the business owner has the responsibility to create a safe, challenging, and appealing workplace.
I love working with business owners to make their businesses stronger. I can be reached at 404-787-5835, or firstname.lastname@example.org.