Teamwork. Is everyone on the same Page?

by | May 31, 2017

Are you and your employees on the same page to make your business great (again)?  Are you all working together for one cause such as making the business successful?  Are you engaging in teamwork?

Do your employees know anything about your business plan and strategy and if they do, are they committed to achieving the goals?  This could be the difference between your business just surviving or being very successful.  If the plans are just inside the heads of management and not shared in any way, then you are wasting vital human resources and limiting the amount of new ideas and innovation your employees can offer the business.

The importance of teamwork

If you search the internet you will find much information offering advice on teamwork, meetings etc., etc. but this advice does not include involving your employees in your business vision, how you want your business to operate, your goals, and your strategies which is essential to a building a successful team

Many business owners are often disappointed and even deflated by the results they get from employee satisfaction surveys.  Despite the best efforts to make sure employees are well paid, work reasonable hours and are secure in their workplaces – employees are dissatisfied.  Even after the business owner has invested in the employee’s training, the employee does not hesitate to leave and go work for another business.

So, what do you do?  Good question, and there will be a myriad of answers from various sources.

Essentially, I think most employees are looking for certainty, clarity and leadership.  Sharing your vision of the business with them and encouraging all to be a part of the same team will go a long way in achieving these goals.  They will get clarity because you have outlined your vision; certainty because you have a plan and leadership because there is a definite strategy you are prepared to share your vision with your team.

I have worked for businesses in the past where it has taken months to figure out what the management vision is – if at all.  Most of the employees just functioned in their section, not being overly concerned about what everyone else was doing.  The manager made his job harder as he/she was constantly trying to co-ordinate all the sections of the workplace.  And the employees stood back and waited for directions and decisions.  These are the employees who would not think twice about leaving for another job, possibly on short notice probably because they think the management does not care.

See what the Queensland Government Business website has to say about teamwork:

Queensland Government Business page on the importance of teamwork

It is great to share your vision, but your vision and strategies need substance to back them, and that should be in a set of well written policies and procedures.

“But I already have a set of policies and procedures” you say.  Many business owners immediately declare that they have a set of policies and procedures, and dismiss the idea that possibly they not worth the paper they are written on because nobody reads them.  They could be a just door stop if they were prepared as part of a compliance requirement for quality assurance or a license and prepared basically for that purpose.  Doorstop policies and procedures are just that, and nobody uses them or refers to them.  They are generically written to broadly cover the topic and not used to guide the employees in how the business is to be run.  If you want to test the usefulness of your current policies and procedures just do a survey and ask your employees when was the last time they referred to the documents or have they ever referred to them or used them for guidance.

Generic policies do not give clarity or certainty for easy decision making.  For example, if you are away from the office and an issue arises, perhaps a customer complaint, that needs a quick decision – there should be enough guidance in the policies and procedures for employees to ascertain how you like the matter to be handled and if there is not, who is the go to person authorised to make the decision.  In some situations, an employee could make a decision and place the management in a situation they do not want to be in.

One of the reasons businesses write their policies and procedures generically is if they are audited they think the extra detail in the documents will cost more to audit.  Well, this may be the case, but detailed, well written policies and procedures will serve the business well and the advantages gained will far outweigh the cost.

Some advantages of well written policies and procedures

  • Certainty and clarity for your employees
  • Procedures have the required steps to complete tasks
  • Articulation of the required steps for work processes
  • Procedures manual can be used for training and a reminder of procedures steps and expectations
  • Policies and procedures can be used for business and customer service improvement
  • Policies and procedures give certainty in decision making
  • They can reduce training time for new employees and can be included in the new employee induction
  • Business improvement through group policy training sessions
  • Your business will operate the way you want
  • You will have better leadership, and a better team
  • Increased efficiency
  • Increased productivity

Training sessions in policies and procedures can enhance teamwork and productivity.  Holding group training sessions and highlighting policies can foster new ideas to streamline processes and identify areas where employees believe can be improved.

Biz Skills online lecture course in Policies and Procedures deals with the group of policies that affect all processes dealing with giving customer credit.  The policies in the course are Customer Credit Policy, Terms of Trade Policy, Debtor’s Ledger Management Policy, Complaints Policy, Credit Policy and Management Plan.  Anyone can enrol in this course, even if they do not give their customers credit.  Every business needs a complaints policy, and the credit policy and management plan is a policy to protect the business’s cash flow.  The course outlines the essential requirements, the structure, and goes through the sections step by step asking questions so the business owner can customise the documents for their business.  The longest document is only 3-pages long.

Key task procedures

Business owners should consider having a subset of key task procedures for jobs such as payroll, customer invoicing, if only one person does it, tax and super returns, commissions and a host of other jobs with critical time frames.  Imagine if the payroll officer cannot come in and cannot be contacted, and you need the payroll processed now.  In these emergency situations, you need a set of procedures that might have such detail that they may need to be kept in a locked drawer.  Step by step procedures, the software used, any specific employees or sources that data is collected from, passwords into software, bank accounts, etc. etc.   Enough information that an experienced labour hire person can be hired on very short notice and follow the procedures step by step, and not have ask others for directions about the location or how-to of anything.

The best way to prepare these procedures is for the current key person PLUS another person from another area to work together and write the procedure down as it the task is being done.  Often the current key person doing the job knows it too well and will consider some steps unimportant and leave them out because they take them for granted.  The second person should pick these up.  For the labour hire person, the insignificant step left out could hold up the payroll.  Having a third person from outside of the business would improve the procedures even more if they are prepared to ask the extra questions of how, why, who and where.  If you wish to engage Biz Skills to be the third person please contact us.

There are two advantages for setting these key task procedures up.  One is it reduce the stress on management and secondly the pressure on the key person.  They can go on leave and know their job will be done as they want it to be done.

Go to the list of courses to access the individual course of which you would like more information.  You will find a preview of the course and a free download with details of the course content.

The Policies and Procedures course instructs students step by step how to create a policy with procedures that is suitable for your business, and range from 2 to 4 four pages for each policy.  It details the structure of a policy and the different aspects to consider to make the policy effective, easy to read and implement the rules into the business.

Contact Biz Skills if you require assistance in the preparation of the key task procedures.

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