I will be the first to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with any business owner and declare his/her rights to make any decisions impacting their company. It comes naturally with ownership. But, so too, does the incumbent task of nurturing all assets, particularly human careers, upon employment. Hiring should be viewed as the birth of a child with much work to do as a manager. Inclusion, observation, caretaking, conversations and feedback, listening and feeding the asset all create a successful end.
If one takes each of those words and finds its antithesis such as exclusion, inattention, aloofness and starving the asset, one would expect failure. After all, human nature is not different than nature itself, and when we ignore a plant, we know it withers first and then, dies. We see this in marriages, friendships and businesses far too much.
But, bringing someone onboard to work for you does not give you ownership of that individual. That team member should be viewed as that…team member; a partner if you will. One should remember the employee was brought on to fill specific needs, but that employee has needs in order to fulfill yours. And I was taught as a child one gets out of life by giving others what they want first. That “fatherly” advice served me well.
What should an employer give an employee? Most owners would answer with the well-known assets of salary, maybe partial health care, maybe a retirement plan, maybe a vehicle, etc. These are usually necessities of the task to be performed.
But, great employers understand building a deep relationship of understanding with each employee has substantial internal, external and competitive strength.
Job descriptions, employee positioning with peers (purpose and role of the new employee), pay-for-GOAL performance, protocols, disciplines, support programs and personnel development programs are all necessary to grow employees. And if managers can’t learn to grow their largest asset, which is people, can they develop their own skill set enough to grow product sales and income? I call it people performance preparation. Yet, few companies identify not only individual employee strengths, but also soft spots in performance. And even fewer make efforts to identify how to strengthen any soft spots through development programs and further training. They tend to complain vs. train.
“If managers can’t learn to grow their largest asset, which is people, can they develop their own skill set enough to grow product sales and income?
Far too many companies spend grotesque amounts of monies on product development and improvement, but few spend dimes on human resource and capability development…that is; skill improvement. While most firms are anxious to put product vs. product performance front and center, I find they often overlook the positive consequences of putting people vs. people performance in the same light. After all, in my mind, it’s a competitive advantage to have people who can outperform competitive people…just as with a product.
I’ve personally worked with companies where no one ever asked me how I felt about what I was doing, how did I and my supervisors feel I could improve, where, when, how…all excluded from the traditional “annual review” conversations either criticizing, or praising, my performance.
Most reviews focus on company results achieved by the individual instead of the individual needs that will bring more to the table in the future. In fact, I could argue annual reviews wouldn’t be necessary if on-going relationships existed. After all, how many of us sit down with our spouses to have an annual performance review? Why? We’re too close and we already know how the other feels about strengths, weaknesses, things to work on. Why does this occur in marriage but not in business? Yet…top-of-the-line corporations agree they need to nurture people into competitive exceptionalism.
I highly encourage owners, directors, people who hire people, supervisors…to follow their hearts into daily decision making about caretaking current and future employees. That’s what matters. If they commit to you, it’s a huge job, but you must commit back. Managers manage time, money and people and in my opinion, people management should consume 90% of their time. Time and money will manage themselves if you focus on your people performance.
When an employee is failing to meet expectations, I’m a huge believer in a mutual supervisor/employee discussion of the issues at length and in depth, leading to hopeful resolution and evolution of the situation before it reaches an undesired and unfortunate ending where both parties lose.
I hope all personnel managers will take the time to note the prevailing winds of each employee, and make decisions that produce positive outcomes for all who impact your success…and those are your employees. And employees should willingly pursue personal growth every single day…both formally and informally. It requires courage, but employees should openly discuss their difficulties in achieving goals with their supervisors when it occurs; not annually, not monthly, not weekly; but immediately.
After all, managing, and changing human behavior is the single most difficult aspect of change inside a business. But, it certainly is worth it.
David Aeschliman is the CEO at www.growthworkllc.net and has expertise in developing growth strategies in selling and marketing. He has worked with more than 200 businesses across the country. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.