Sunday, December 18, 2011

People People People!

The lifeblood of any organization is its employees. The employees must be able to buy into the vision and mission of the company for it to be successful. The management must, in turn, be able to satisfy the basic needs of an employee.

When the management and the employee see eye to eye there will be a harmonious relationship between the parties involved. However, if one thinks that the other party is taking advantage then mistrust and chaos ensues.

The birth pains of any growing organization is getting the right people and putting them on the same page as every one else. A maverick is encouraged if he has already been sold to the company's system, vision and mission as well as policies. Employees who are given leeway often abuse the autonomy that has been given to them.

We experienced this first hand in one of our shops. An employee who had been with us since we started had become so full of himself and has treated the new hires disrespectfully.

Thanks to
M, let us call him this, was one of the employees we thought we could trust. He had some good ideas we were able to use. And he also understood that since we were starting out, some of the benefits would have to be on hold until we become successful.

M started to change when we got additional shops for expansion. We got more people to help us and increase our sales. We mentioned to M that once we reach the sales target of a certain he will be given more responsibilities, thus, also a corresponding increase salary.

However, during the next few days we saw that he wasn't as persevering as he used to. He ordered the new hires to do his job and at the same time, he did not report the sales of the shop at the end of the day. Furthermore, he wanted an immediate increase in salary. We told him that the agreed target must first be met. He became confrontational.

We decided to leave him when he brought home the sales of the day and didn't return it. It was a small amount but we couldn't trust him anymore.

Now, we have one of our franchisees experiencing her own employee problems. The employee goes to work late and goes home early and then asks why he has a paltry take home pay. Amazing!

Every company has their own story to tell, as much as any other employee. The key to maintaining a good working relationship is being open and keeping respect. Once you lose that respect, then all hell breaks lose.

Lessons that I've learned from this experience:

1. Manage expectations. Right from the start, tell the employee the rules and regulations of the company. If he doesn't perform as well or goes to work late, it is expected that his take home pay will be smaller compared to the others.

2. Communicate clearly. Employees have their own minds. They have their own vocabulary. They have their own experiences in which they create their own context. Make sure that you are coming from the same page. Understand them first.

3. Be prepared to let go of your employees when they create trouble. Although losing an employee is one of the hardest things to experiences to have, a company will be better off in the long-run if the agitator is let go. You can get and train people anytime but you will not be able to gain and get the respect of your employees as easily.