One of the massive fast-food chain stores suffered a loss of 245 pieces of chicken and 63 kg of chips in three days. In two shifts 424 cans of cold drink and 518 cans of juice had disappeared. Management tried to stop the losses by locking the freezers, storerooms and the walk-in coolers. But the stock losses continued. The business hired new supervisors and managers and implemented more stock handling measures. It was an impossible task and eventually the business dismissed all their staff in the particular team at a disciplinary enquiry. The problem was resolved immediately.
When a bad element infiltrates your small business the losses could be huge. You need to act before the losses cripple your business. Another small business I know of found out after about 10 years that one of their employees was systematically stealing cash month after month. Fortunately, the business owner eventually found out, set up surveillance and caught the employee red handed. How are you ever going to recover all those losses over the years?
Big losses like this in a small business may remind one how important honest employees are. Many employees in your business are honest and work hard to ensure your success. Even your lowest-paid workers contribute to your small business in meaningful ways. Through their conscientiousness, honesty and work ethic, they help you avoid damages, loss of stock and help to maintain service to customers. Yet how often do you recognise all the employees in your business for the contribution that they are making?
Some small businesses that require specialised skills focus on the most talented or high performing individuals. This makes sense in an economy where there is a shortage of key skills. Focusing on the high-performing individuals, small business owners sometimes forget about everyone else who may be have been there for some time, loyal to their business, rarely taking even sick leave, putting in the hours and extra hours at home to help ensure the success of the business. These are the rank-and-file employees in various levels, from a senior level right down to the service staff, who are honest, conscientious and take pride in doing their jobs well.
These are the employees who often don’t approach you for accolades and praise but perhaps are the ones that never receive a pat on the back. They do their jobs well and prevent losses to your business. They go out of their way to help ensure that you have a high level of customer service. Just take one example. If an employee doesn’t show up for work on a Sunday when staff are short anyway, it’s very hard for you to keep up the level of desired customer service.
By keeping close to your staff in your small business whatever their levels, not just the high performers, you help to recognise that everyone in your small business team counts. Rather than criticising staff members about their performance wouldn’t it make more sense for you as the business owner to stay close to your staff, chat to them, find out what they are doing, their concerns and hopes for your business?
It’s easy to criticise. Everyone does it. Any fool can do it.
But it’s the small business owner who goes out and talks to their people who work day in and day out, understands their problems and listens, is the one who gains respect and improves the performance of their business through their honest, hard-working and conscientious staff.