I am sure you will agree covering staff in a blog will by no means cover all the highs and lows of employing staff. There are good bits and bad bits which could be discussed for hours! Employing staff can be a huge leap for a business and handing over trust and confidence may be difficult.
When you first started your company you might have decided to not take on staff for a variety of reasons, it may have even been difficult to imagine that one day you may grow your business to then take on staff, it’s an exciting thought but also a scary thought.
You may be used to working 24/7 as it is your business and you have accepted this to grow your business, can you expect this from anyone else, how can you handle them only working the hours they are contracted to? Why didn’t they answer the email a minute after it was sent last night at 9pm? (If you are doing this and working 24/7, we perhaps need a conversation about time management, customer expectations, work/life balance etc!)
When you are a sole trader and you have set your business up from nothing, learning to let other people do certain tasks that you have always done is really difficult. Some of the jobs you have had to do you may be really pleased to pass them on and that person you employ may be more effective and efficient than you, which will ultimately save you time to ensure you are growing your business. However how do you let go? how do you know they are going to look after your clients? and will they value every single phone call like you have?
However, you may be at a point now where you need to take a step back and work more on the business, as opposed to in the business. Working that “extra hour” can be so easy when you have your own business, but before you know it one becomes two and your work/life balance is out the window. The choice for self-employment then is questioned when you find yourself working far more hours than you ever did when you were employed.
Are you questioning why did I go self-employed? are you losing the enjoyment factor of being your own boss? Is it time to take some time to reflect on what you have achieved, where you are now and where you want to be in 12 months’ time/5 years’ time?
When I had my Estate Agency Business I was very reluctant of letting go and having other people look after my clients I had worked so hard to obtain, I did accept though to grow my business I had no choice so took the plunge and eventually employed six staff.
An example of letting go! Paying landlords their rents. It takes a great deal of time to win new business and money is a very sensitive issues, get this wrong and you could lose all the work you have put in to get the business by making the wrong payment.
However, I did have to ask myself, was half a day a week, paying the rentals, a good investment of my time when I should be growing my business. Outsourcing to someone better trained than you, whilst this is a cost, could actually mean growing your business so that the end result is a better job done and you are free to do what you are best at and expand your business more.
Where do you find good staff? what do you pay them? what does your contract look like? have you indeed go a contract?
My advice to any business owner employing staff is firstly have a watertight contract to protect your business, set the expectations that you have of your staff out at the very start. Advise them that whilst they are contracted to you, you expect 100% from them, if they are respectful and loyal to you, you will be the same to them. You will have regular appraisals with them, this is not an opportunity for you to remember a list of negative points, this is for you to share with each other how they are getting on in the role, are there any training requirements, are they performing well, if so be grateful, if not try to establish why on a very positive level. Remember you are investing in them which is investing in your business. If there are problems along the way, deal with them immediately, don’t let things fester as this will show.
Good quality staff will be loyal to you, no one is indispensable but if you have a good staff person you may wish to go out of your way occasionally to make them feel appreciated and therefore be inclined to stay with you. Valuing your staff is so important for their well being and the growth of your business.
I hope this is a helpful little nut shell and please continue to read my blogs which will cover general business advice, feel free to contact me if you wish to have a further conversation about your particular staff needs, recognising training requirements and or issues.
Remember treat people as you would wish to be treated and you can’t go to wrong!