By Stuart Selbst
Most small business owners struggle at some point with staffing issues. My advice to you, based upon my own experience, is to take a proactive approach. You simply must set performance expectations and hold your employees and yourself to them.
Like goals, performance expectations must be SMART. I am harking back to the 1981 article written by George Doran, Arthur Miller and James Cunningham. Their model still works well to this day Goals must be S.M.A.R.T: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.
In a blog I wrote about the hiring process, I said: You must have a well-defined job description. If you dont have it on paper then you have no framework to work from and nothing to serve as the base for your performance expectations.” This is an indispensable component of being proactive when it comes to setting goals and performance expectations for your employees.
These goals must be written and you must review them with the employee when they are hired, when you update them annually and with frequency throughout the year. If your employee isnt clear on what you expect from them you are setting yourself up for a staffing nightmare never assume “they should just know.”
Although certain goals may apply to all employees, they are not one size fits all. If you have two level 1 techs, they should have the same overall goals. But your level 2 person and your administrative assistant should have their own goals.
I recommend you challenge your employees to set one or two individual goals for themselves as well. Perhaps they want to be cross-trained on a task or obtain a certification. If you approve their goal, you can include it under a section for personal goals. Typically a timeframe should be set for all goals and generally this should be reviewed and modified annually.
The bottom line is, the key to success in any relationship is communication. By setting clear expectations that are mutually agreed upon, there can be no question about what is expected and no excuses for not knowing.
Stuart Selbst is president of
Stuart Selbst Consulting
which helps technology services firms attain success through focusing on customer service along with process and team development. He has worked with hundreds of firms globally who have all achieved different levels of success. Selbst has more than 20 years of technical experience having worked in large corporate IT departments and he holds multiple technical, engineering and security certifications. He also is a member of
the 2012-13 Channel Partners Advisory Board.