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What not to do if you want to be an employer of choice

6 Things you absolutely must NOT do, if you want to be an employer of choice!

The employer/employee landscape has changed over the past two or three decades, where we emerged from a ‘you get paid for your work so just get on with it’ attitude to an environment where the employee demands more than just a pay check. 

Right or wrong, it’s how it is now, so rather than fighting it, it’s time for business owners to step into the ring and start implementing systems and process’ that support their team.  The best part about it, is that with this comes great reward.  Acquiring the best talent, retaining the best talent and producing the most rapid growth are just a couple of benefits to this approach.  

If you’d like your business to be an ’employer of choice’ here’s a couple of tips on what NOT to do, that happen all too often in the workplace.


1) Spring meetings or deadlines without notice

People need to know in advance what’s coming because most humans require a sense of certainty.  The majority of people take pride in their work and if something unexpected is launched upon them, it often throws them for a six. Meaning their focus goes to justifying why they cant, blaming and making excuses rather than remaining focused on the desired outcome.  This reduces productivity and effectiveness and ultimately costs the business.

Fix:  Established a set time each week where you meet as a team and in each meeting, flag potential deadlines/meetings possible to come up this week helping them plan out their week as best you can. Should you need to due to external reasons, apologise and ask what can you/another team member take off their plate to help them meet the deadline.


2) Change your expectations without notifying them in writing

There is nothing more frustrating as an employee than having the goal posts moved or being berated for something that you didn’t know about.  This may be relevant to targets, duties or tasks or simply punctuality.  Most people want to do the right thing, because it meets their need to be accepted and belonging. 

Fix:  Document your expectations in a staff handbook and include everything you expect of your team.    This way you’ve got something to refer to, to hold them accountable.   If something arises, that you haven’t included in the handbook, make it an agenda item in your next team meeting and introduce it to the team, revising the staff handbook accordingly.  Imagine if this situation happened to your son, daughter, mother or father.  How would you want them to be treated?


3) Don’t acknowledge their hard work or show appreciation

It used to be the case that the thanks you received for doing your job was the pay check you received at the end of the week/month.   Expecting people to perform month after month with this approach is a sure fire way to disengage them and have them seeking employment else where.

Fix:  It’s ok if this doesn’t come naturally to you, you just need to create a system to help you remember to look for what’s being done well.  It can be something as simple as a pop up in your calendar, a post-it note or reminder on your computer.  What ever it is, when you see it, look for something that a team member is doing well.  To acknowledge them you could write a short thank you note, send them a text/email, telling them they are doing a great job.   If they are someone who likes public recognition, and it’s significant, you could mention it in the team meeting in front of the entire team.  Remember, our employees respond just as children do, reward and acknowledge the behaviour you want to see more of. 


4) Have low expectations and offer low support

If you have no expectations documented, you have low expectations.  Low expectations means no boundaries, and you can do what ever you like.  This situations, leads to delinquent behaviour.  Just as a teenager that has no boundaries will go off the rails and focus on merely surviving, so too will your team.  A successful teenager is one that knows the boundaries and the consequences of crossing those boundaries and will therefore thrive in their environment.

Fix:  Be very clear on what you expect of your team and ensure it’s documented.  Then back up those expectations with support through training and guidance and accountability.  As long as you see progress and growth you can be happy they are moving in the right direction.   If they don’t meet these expectations, they must be held accountable to the expectation and experience the consequence.  Remember, what’s good for one is good for all.  This is true with performance and underperformance.


5) Accept excuses and even blame for no performance

Sadly, society teaches us to blame and make excuses for our situation in everything we do.  Blame the boss, blame the government, blame the neighbour next door.  In this type of environment, people have low level thinking where they’re constantly trying to duck and weave out of the firing line.  Fearful of the wrath.  This significantly impacts their level of productivity and they just can’t wait for ‘home time’.   This means with every situation, they have no ability to seek what went wrong and work out a solution.  They are merely in survival mode, producing the lowest possible output to fly under the radar.

Fix:  The problem with this way of thinking is that when it’s someone else’s fault or problem, the individual has no opportunity to learn and grow.  Creating a ‘no excuses’ environment means, that everyone takes responsibility for their own results, without ridicule or criticism.  It’s only when an individual takes responsibility that they can do something about it to change their results.  Nurturing this type of environment means that everyone feels free to take responsibility for their results or lack of, and can always (even if with your help) find something new they can do to improve their result next time.


6) Schedule a meeting with them for their performance review, and then cancel it

As the business owner you are undoubtedly in demand and there always seems to be something demanding your time.  If you’ve set a time with your team member, and then cancel it at the last minute, you are unconsciously telling them that they aren’t important enough for your time.  That they don’t matter as much as the next thing.  This effects their level of confidence and feeling of value and ultimately can effect their level of productivity. Especially if it’s a repeat occurrence.

Fix:  Set a time for each team member on a schedule that works for your business and stick to it.  If you were in an all day business meeting or had an appointment with a client, you wouldn’t reschedule, so don’t reschedule your team.  After all, they are the key to your clients / customers happiness, so make sure they feel valued and worthwhile.

There are many more things I could’ve shared here, but this is a start to move towards becoming an employer of choice.  Overall, being an employer of choice is about making your employees feel valued and appreciated in a warm and encouraging environment whilst meeting their core needs.  This includes treating people how you’d like to be treated and making each of them feel like they belong.

Often business owners are aware that they don’t provide an environment that would make them an employer of choice, but have no idea how to change that.  If you’d like to discuss your business and the opportunity you have to become an employer of choice, click here to book your complimentary chat with Lisa.

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