You’re Right: Your Employees Can Do Better. But They’re Not The Problem.
“No matter what I try, I can’t seem to motivate my employees.”
I heard this from a 911 Restoration franchise owner recently. In truth, I hear it from a lot of small business owners.
“They’re not proactive.”
“They’re not problem-solving.”
“It’s like they don’t care if we go under.”
If you’ve been in this position with your own team, you probably also know the aggravation of dealing with a defensive staff. You tell them you need to see more drive from them. They say they’re working relentlessly.
Your numbers seem to tell a different story. Every month you’re holding your breath to see if you’re going to be able to cover bills and payroll. It feels like your company is constantly on the brink.
So what’s really going on? Is your team lying about the effort they put in? Are they just bad at their jobs?
It’s probably neither of those things. In fact, the most likely problem is something that can be fixed starting this week.
You just need to gain—and give—a little perspective.
What You See vs. What Your Employee Sees
Most entrepreneurs keep their metrics private from employees. They don’t talk about their financial goals for the year. They don’t discuss lead close rate or earnings for the last quarter.
While you may feel protective of that information, you need to know that withholding metrics makes it really hard for your team to perform their best.
Let’s say your sales aren’t generating enough revenue. You push your salesperson to work harder. Now he’s irritated because he’s actually been doing a great job. He’s focused, he’s constantly improving his approach with customers, and he knows for a fact his lead close rate is above average.
What he doesn’t know is that you need his average ticket to be worth $3,500. He’s pulling in around $2,500 per job.
Think how much time and anguish you would save if he was aware of that target. He would be able to recognize the problem himself and switch his focus from booking more jobs to convincing leads to pay a higher price.
When your staff knows the numbers you want versus the numbers you’re getting, you don’t have to exhaust yourself making locker room speeches. They see the problem. They get it. And if you hired them for their great attitude and growth mindset, they’ll motivate themselves to fix it.
How to Get on the Same Page
This really couldn’t be simpler. It’s basically a two-step process.
First, get clarity for yourself.
Before you can communicate key metrics to your team, you need to know what success looks like.
If you haven’t already, figure out:
- Your revenue goals,
- Your key revenue drivers,
- The average price per job,
- How many jobs you need to book each month to meet revenue goals,
- Your conversation rate, and
- Based on conversion rate, how many leads you need to generate in order to meet your monthly goal.
If you haven’t thought through these steps yet, check out the free Business Plan Tool at Get Out of the Truck. This tool walks you through all these metrics and generates a business plan you can use to communicate more clearly with your team.
Second, assign metrics to the proper person.
You don’t have to lay out your entire business plan for everyone on your staff. But you do want to create a unified sense of mission, and you want to make sure each employee is equipped to take responsibility for their own metrics.
For example, the person who answers the phone needs to know what you consider a good conversion rate. When she knows that—and she knows what your actual conversion rate is—she begins to see her job differently. It’s no longer, “Am I picking up within three rings and returning calls promptly?” Instead, she thinks, “I’m the first person each potential customer speaks with. Am I handling this encounter in a way that inspires trust?”
Your sales team should also be conscious of conversation rate as well as your target for average ticket price.
The person overseeing job production needs to be conscious of profit-per-job. After your salesperson worked so hard to meet his metrics, you don’t want your field guys blowing your profits by spending three days on a job that should be completed in one.
It’s Not Just Knowledge; It’s Empowerment
Communicating measurable goals is an extremely practical solution for motivating an underperforming team. But it has deeper benefits, as well.
When you are transparent with your team in this way, you show them how each employee plays an essential role in the success of your business. You create alignment between departments and individuals.
Perhaps most importantly, you give each team member the power to problem-solve and self-manage. They aren’t stuck “working hard” and waiting for you to tell them if it’s good enough. Your employees are able to monitor and track their own improvement. They have the information they need to take some initiative so they can take genuine pride in the success of your business.
Ultimately, our goal as business owners is to build a team that takes ownership of our mission. It’s true that when it comes to your business, no one will ever care as much as you, sacrifice as much as you, or benefit to the same degree financially.
But your team can still find daily motivation and long-term fulfillment in their jobs.
You just have to provide the clarity of vision.
Further Resources on This Topic
Free Video Course: Accelerating Business Growth
Blog Post: How to Write a Job Description: The Secret Key to Hiring and Leading
Free Tool: Business Plan Wizard
Free Tool: Job Description Generator