Once your employees confidently exclaim that they know what’s expected of them at work each day, celebrate that win. Your company now enjoys an unfair advantage: an unstoppable team clear on what they need to do to move their company forward each day. Now, the next question starts to get into the practicality of executing that work.
Like Question #1, this question may seem a little crazy – of course your staff has all of the materials and equipment to do their job well. If you’re like me when I first encountered this question, you are thinking right now about all of the things that your company provides to each employee. I mean, the company provides a computer or tablet, an email address, a phone, and other supplies so that each of them can more easily complete their required tasks each and every day, right? So, what could they possibly need that you have not already provided them? Adding to my own confusion was the fact that we had a very good culture at my company, so I found it incredible to believe that, if someone needed something to do their job better, they wouldn’t just ask for it. We had a suggestion box that we acted on every week. When staff brought up ideas in company meetings or in their one on ones, we acted on them in most cases. So how did we not get 100% on this question?
I think Question #1 is partially to blame. For example, if an employee does not know what’s expected of them at work, they can hardly be held accountable to know what tools they really need to do their job correctly. Another piece is that they are fearful to ask – as in Question #1 – because they feel like they should already know, or they feel like you should know. After all, you created their job description and you, as the boss or business owner, should know what they need to do their jobs correctly. If you didn’t provide it for them, then they believe there’s a good chance that they don’t need it or that they don’t understand.
Having said all of that, as your staff executes their positions each day, they know what materials and equipment will help them do their jobs better. When you think about it, not soliciting this information from your staff or creating an environment where suggestions are not welcomed, does a great disservice to your bottom line. Sure, there will be suggestions that make no practical or financial sense, and these will have to be discarded with reasonable explanations. I was astounded when I learned, for example, that some of our people were stressed out because they didn’t know how to track their performance metrics on a daily basis. This is an example of something that they need to do their job right. We had given them numbers to achieve each day, and in reality, there was no easy way for them to see how they were doing against those numbers unless they calculated them manually on their own. This went on for months until one of them made an off-handed comment (not complaint) about how much time they were spending each week just to calculate their numbers. Once we heard this, we researched possible solutions, found one that cost $12 per user per month, and subsequently saved 17 hours ($595) per person per month that they were spending calculating their own metrics manually. In addition to the obvious financial win, the solution was elegant, the staff enjoyed using it, and they felt cared for and important because it was addressed and implemented quickly. This was a win on all sides. Make sure your people have what they need to do their jobs right.