After you’ve spent months or years establishing your business – waking up early, staying up late, squeezing your work around family and friends (or visa versa); after you’ve said no to invitations, events and getaways, and after you’ve spent hundreds, or even thousands, of your hard-earned dollars on coaches and courses and seminars so you could grow your business to a point that you’re bringing in enough cash to finally employ a team… you don’t want to spend all of your newly acquired time and money managing poor performing or unproductive employees!
Fortunately, there is a solution. Having worked with hundreds of business owners to help grow their businesses through teams of superstar employees, I’ve seen the common mistakes that are made in managing and motivating teams. In this article, I’ll share what these mistakes are and what you need to do to ensure you continue to grow an awesome business.
Mistake 1: Don’t know what they need
Unfortunately, business owners don’t know what they don’t know about the necessities of employing people (or contractors) and they don’t obtain the necessary professional advice to understand what their employer obligations are, nor the best way to hire, manage and motivate their people to achieve amazing business results
Mistake 2: No plan
Most business owners take an unplanned approach to the hiring and management of their team, which is not strategic, reactive, and inconsistent. They don’t have a business plan and they definitely don’t have a people plan with KPIs about how they’re going to meet their business goals. So, it’s no surprise they don’t achieve their desired business outcomes.
Mistake 3: Lazy recruitment
Too many business owners do not have a well thought out recruitment and selection process that will result in attracting and appointing the best person available for the job. They have no clarity over exactly what the ideal candidate’s profile is. They are in a rush to get someone in the door so invest little time on selecting the right person and often too much money on training and recruitment agencies due to high employee churn.
Mistake 4: Unclear expectations
Business owners who fail to provide employees with clarity around their job expectations are asking for trouble. With no vision, values, business plan, KPIs nor insufficient feedback, employees fail to meet the desired goals – because they don’t know what their goals are!
Mistake 5: Not engaging hearts and minds
Many business owners don’t realise that their primary role is as leader of the organisation. As a result, they don’t sell the vision of the business, they poorly communicate, don’t involve others in their decision making, and don’t develop and reward their people in a meaningful way.
Mistake 6: Not complying with the law
Too often I need to help business owners who have landed themselves in trouble with the law; anything from unfair dismissal claims, to wage underpayments, to workplace investigations around bullying or sexual harassment. It is a costly mistake to not seek advice up-front on what your employer obligations are and what you need to do to minimise your risk.
Mistake 7: Procrastination
Procrastination is the nemesis of business growth. Business owners who don’t quickly deal with poor performance, or who put off communicating and rewarding their people feel the consequences deeply.
So what’s the solution to overcome these 7 costly HR mistakes?
- What do you need? Before you employ people, what do you need to know and what systems do you need in place to have a high performing team and be compliant with the law? Best to go to HR and/or employment law experts for this, or at least check out the Fair Work website.
- Develop a Business and People Plan. A Business Plan is a necessity to understand where you’re going and how you’re going to get there. From there you will be able to identify the types of resources and jobs necessary to achieve the plan.
- Robust recruitment process. A little more time invested up front in recruitment and selection will result in significantly less time and money later on if the person needs additional training or has to be replaced. Get absolutely clear on the skills, experience and attributes you need in your new employee, and develop a multi-faceted selection process to ensure you choose the best person for the job.
- Set clear expectations and provide feedback. Every employee needs a hundred per cent clarity about their responsibilities and how their performance will be measured. They need to be given regular in-the-moment feedback to keep them on track and acknowledge their contribution.
- Lead. As the business owner your main task is to lead your business and your people. Mostly this is about inspiration, communication and recognition. Systemise the way you do this to ensure it happens regularly and effectively in an authentic way.
- Comply with the law. Don’t assume you know what your employer obligations are when it comes to the Fair Work Act, modern awards, work health and safety, and other important requirements. Ensure you know what you need to do to comply with the law – and do it. Like recruitment, better to spend a little more time and money upfront rather than having to pay huge fines, legal costs, settlement claims, or back-pays in the future.
- Do it now. As the saying goes, don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today. Rip the band-aid off quickly! If you have a difficult decision to make or conversation to have, then plan it out, don’t procrastinate and do it. Procrastination can cause stress, slows down the business, or a crisis that could have been avoided.