Finally, the Employees!

These past three weeks, I have been walking you through our “Back to the Basics” overview.  We have covered the Balanced Scorecard, the Stakeholders, and now we have arrived at our final segment.  Finally, we are going to take a look at the employees.

Importantly, the last major step on the Back to Basics road is the Employees. This is the group of talented hard working engaged people that do the work in your company. How are they treated?

This is not about salaries and wages, or the benefits your company offers. It is not even about working conditions. Those are fundamentals that will be de-motivators if they are not in line with the marketplace and even a touch higher. No, it is about what the employee sees as their opportunity to progress in the company. What is required to get to the next step in their careers? What do they have to do to earn more money?

When an employee performance review takes place is this a staple of the discussion between the direct supervisor and the employee? One of those subjects should be “What do I need to do to get more money?” This is a critical element in employee satisfaction and that leads to employee retention.

The biggest challenge facing every business today is attracting and hiring and retaining talented people. At the moment there are 7,000,000 jobs that are open in the US. Seven Million! Unemployment today in the US is 4.1%

Where are we going to find these employees?

Today there is some challenge in the view that the “older generation” has of the “younger generation.” They don’t have the same work ethic that we had is a comment I hear all the time. Nothing could be further from the truth. We have to open our minds to employees. We have to create career paths for talented people. We have to challenge our employees to get better at what they do. We have to embrace the Japanese approach of Kaizen – continually improving what we do.

As an educator, I taught education for six years at University, and I had some power over the students in that they needed to pass the course to get their degree. On the job we start having trouble. I reference again Patrick Lencioni in his book “The Three Signs of a Miserable Job.” These three signs are Anonymity, Irrelevance and Immeasureability.

Employees should be able to control their own destiny. They should know what the job is and how their performance is measured. This measurement should be objective and the employee and the employer should know how the measurement is done, where the data comes from, and what calculations are involved. It should be so clear that the employee can measure their own performance themselves. Daily, if possible. How well do you do on that basic element?

Then we arrive at employee development. Each employee should have a defined career path. They should understand and accept that this is their opportunity. There should also be a clear employee development plan. We offer help in this area within Learning Without Scars. We have a “Dealer Profile” that we ask our clients to complete.  This Dealer Profile identifies the numbers of employees in parts and service and product support selling by job category. Then we create an employee development program for each job function. We have a three-year program for most major tasks: in-store selling, parts office, warehousing, service inspectors, service writers, service foremen, and service office. We also offer management and supervision training.

So welcome aboard the Back to Basics train. Don’t forget we have to deliver results: for our customers, our employees, our owners, and suppliers.

Ignore this at your peril.

The time is now.