Small business owners don't have many employees and often those employees can become more like family members or close friends.
What happens when one of those employees no longer performs as you expect?
As a business owner who expects the business to profit and grow, your responsibility is clear. Employees whose performance has slipped - or never reaches the standard you need - must be counseled and coached until they come up to standard, or, they need to move on.
Keep in mind that unless you only have one employee - your other employees will see how you handle poor performance and will respond accordingly. So, if you ignore it, hoping it will go away, it will multiply.
Here are steps you can follow to handle poor performance:
Your goal is to build on their ability and help them grow into your best employee.
As a small business owner, creating policy can often sound overwhelming. With only a few well chosen employees, policies can seem unnecessary; however, well written policies are the key to consistency and success.
Ensures everybody is on the same page. Policies help employees understand your expectations, and ensure that everybody is being held to the same expectations.
Solidifies company culture. While it is tempting to allow employees freedom to make their own decisions, an employee policy manual establishes guidelines that will enhance productivity and create a feeling of stability.
Allows managers to consistently enforce your wishes and can serve as an internal control method so that managers cannot take free license to make unilateral decisions
Policies you should include: Time Off, Attendance, Dress, Social Media, Cyber Security, and Overtime. Depending on your company's size and product, there are others that could be included such as Payroll Advance, Sick Leave, Work Place Visitor, Pets in the Workplace, etc. (resources.workable.com has a great list of sample templates)
Some policies are required based on legal responsibility, the Equal Employment Opportunity Act and Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act are good examples. They spell out penalties to employers who do not establish and enforce violations of fair employment practices or sexual harassment
Who owns the policies and procedures manual in your company? As a small business owner, it is probably you.
Some questions to ask:
What do you remember about the first time you were hired to do a job?
· When is payday?
· Do you get paid holidays?
· Will you be paid overtime wages?
· What are the company’s rules regarding attendance?
· Are there any benefits and will you be eligible for them?
If you remembered to ask all these questions and can remember the answers, you are not the average new employee!
When you were first hired, were you made aware of the company’s expectations regarding your behavior toward the customer and your fellow employees?
Did the person hiring you explain the company’s vision, where they want to be in 5 years,10? Odds are that if you were not given an employee handbook at that hiring meeting, you didn’t remember the answers to the previous questions (except about payday!) And even better odds are that you then went to a more experienced employee for the answers rather than a manager.
Even if you currently have only one employee, that employee should have an employee handbook. These handbooks are not required to be multi-paged, printed in 4 color and bound. They can be one page– as long as they are written in a clear understandable manner and reflect the culture of your business.
An effective employee manual both protects your company from litigation and puts staff members at ease by spelling out in positive terms the company’s policies. Your employee handbook should state that it does not constitute an employment contract, and you always need to have it vetted by your lawyer. For guidelines regarding employee handbooks, a good source is the Small Business Association. www.sba.gov