I love the passion, desire, and motivation entrepreneurs exude and demonstrate. I admire their ability to live life every day devoted to what they really want to do, not what they HAVE to do. As one wonderful consultant explained to me, entrepreneurs have the freedom and ability to live in a space that is creative, forcing them to constantly think outside of the box. Even though this may be, I can’t stop wondering why do so many business owners struggle with their people. What do I mean by “people”? It’s really a simple definition: Your customers … your employees. My opinion, entrepreneurs are usually great at their craft and skill but aren’t so great at managing human capital.
Big businesses get it. They have Human Resource departments that are focused on hiring “high po’s” (High Potentials) and keeping them in the organization. They spend hours in meetings discussing the best way to do this. ” We should use social media to recruit high performing talent!”, “Hey what about career pathing, we have to make sure our folks know how they can climb the corporate ladder here!”, “Hey when was our last salary analysis done to make sure we are remaining competitive in our market so we don’t lose our people!”. Big companies also spend money on departments such as Learning and Organizational Development and these individuals spend just as much time in meetings trying to figure out how to make sure the organization’s employees are developing professionally, maintaining desired behaviors, and finding ways to effectively drive performance. “Hey with that career pathing model HR just rolled out, when are we going to identify the competencies and education needed on each level so that we can identify opportunities for training to help bridge skill gaps and help our people be successful in the company?” “Hey did anyone evaluate the results of our last training program to gauge whether knowledge was transferred from training to workplace?”. “Hey I did that and I was able to evaluate the impact on the business and how performance has improved. The C-Suite will be really happy… this all equals dollars and cents for them!” So as big businesses hash out these discussions, I find that small businesses don’t have these discussions at all.
Now let’s take a trip to our town’s local mom and pop hair salon/ coffee shop/ graphic design studio. You won’t find a human resources or learning and development department. I used to frequent one local business that had constant turnover, slow service, and only the owner was phenomenal at her job. No one trusted the other technicians to deliver services, and technicians changed all the time. As I began to encounter numerous local businesses, I realized how the lack of human capital management impacted me as a customer as well as their employees.
Now of course, I’m not delusional. I understand that small companies do not have the same workforce ratio, needs, or budgets as larger companies but there are things you can do. This is the age of Consultants R’ Us, take a few moments and peruse the internet. See if any HR consultants are willing to come in and give you tips around behavioral based interviewing or possibly help out with employee engagement. Strategic human resource consultants are able to correlate the importance of making sure you have the right people in the right positions to the financial impacts of your business. They even may be able to give you ideas of how to translate possible growth within your business so that your employees can look at their jobs as careers and opportunity to add value to your company. ( Imagine how awesome your day would become if you knew that what you were doing everyday brings you closer to being in a position you truly desire instead of waking up every morning to go to a job that is filled with 8 hours of tedious work.)
So I end this by saying no fear my wonderful small business owners. There are answers but you have to start working on it now. Your employees impact your customers and your customers impact your business. Treat both of these parties like gold and your business will great returns. Choose to ignore and you will find yourself and your business in an undesirable rut! So carryon and leave a legacy of greatness! If you need help you can find it…. There are consultants lurking everywhere!