Depend on process to have the small business growth and success you desire. One of the great roadblocks to small business growth can be the key employee. Without a process to monitor output and work quality that key person can end up running you and your business.
Process-You Can’t Evaluate What You Can’t Measure
In my personal business coaching practice I had a client who hired his first employee. At first things were great. But, as the business grew, and this happens to most self-employed business owners, there started to be a widening gap between the owner and the key employee.
Why? The key employee started doing things as he saw fit. He took care of his work but as time went on, he took care of himself first. You may ask, where was the owner? The owner was overwhelmed with handling the growth and didn’t have time or take the time to come up with a job description, work flow process, etc.
Without Process You Can’t Depend On Your Outcome
As the small business grew, other employees were hired. But, the key employee who had gained more responsibility, authority and salary started poisoning the attitude of the new hires. He complained about how things were never right. He wasn’t paid enough. How the owner was stupid because he didn’t do this and that.
Does this sound familiar? It happens more often than not in most small businesses. When I arrived the service was being delivered but the high standards of the past were not being met. The number of customer complaints was rising. Customers were no longer seeing the company and its service as being dependable.
At some point you reach the tipping point and things start to go in a downward direction.
Process Determines Outcome
In collaborating with the business owner, the first thing we did was create a job description for the key employee. We also brought in a human resources consultant to write job descriptions and an employee handbook with policies and procedures.
The key employee was furious. The process of creating the job description and the dreaded word, accountability, made him quite angry.
He said we didn’t trust him. That he wasn’t valued. And, told us to “take a hike.”
Process Brings Control
Within 90 days the key employee who the owner never thought could be replaced was gone. A new person took his place. The morale improved. The service levels got better and the customer complaints started to diminish.
What happened? Putting in a process for human resources with accountability allowed the owner to retake control of his company. One of his fears in the past was that he didn’t know what the key employee really did. Since he didn’t know he lived in fear of doing anything.
As he said, he was a hostage to his own business. But, with the human resources process in place he was able to see what the key employee really did. The process allowed him to evaluate the performance. The process gave him tools to terminate the key employee and as a result his small business started to move forward.
Whether it is human resources, marketing, operations or any other business discipline always remember this. It is not about outcome. It is about process. Process determines outcome.