First of all know this: you’re valuable. We love you. You’re important to the business. It’s just that, well, sometimes as an employee you can do things that get under our skin. Want some examples? OK, here are five. Yes, some may seem petty. But they’re for real.
1. Too much chit-chat.
When we see you and a fellow employee chit-chatting in the break room for more than a few minutes our antenna goes up and our cognitive calculator clicks into gear. We start calculating how much your little catch up on Game of Thrones is costing by the hour. And just a 10 minute conversation amongst a few of you can cost $50 or $100 in lost time. You’re rolling your eyes, right? That doesn’t sound like much. But hey…it’s a dinner out with the spouse, right? And you’ve just taken that away. Trust me, every business owner thinks this at one time or another.
2. You complain without suggesting.
We all have complaints. And business owners probably deal with more than the average Joe. But we are always open to improving our businesses. We really do want to hear your feedback and we want you to be part of the company’s success. But here’s the thing: most of the time you complain. The computers are too slow. The office is too cold. There aren’t enough people to do the work. Your health insurance is too expensive. The guy sitting next to you smells like a toilet. We get it. It’s human to complain. But we don’t like it. We’re happy to hear any issues or problems as long as you’ve got a recommendation to go along with it. So next time you want to complain about something think first: how would I make this better? We might not agree but we’ll appreciate constructive suggestions always.
3. You’re not making us money.
Want to read a great book – check out my friend Todd Cohen’s Everyone’s In Sales. He’s right. Everyone in the company is always selling, regardless of your role. Most of us know that we’re not maximizing the opportunities with our existing customer base even as we’re spending too much in marketing to bring in new customers. We need your help. You’re on the front lines. When you talk to a customer, what other products or services can our company be offering? What other ways can we be helping our customers succeed which in turn will help us succeed? What other people are you talking to at the customer who may be good sales contacts? And what about your friends and community? Are you positively representing our company and looking for opportunities? If you’re just doing your assigned task then you’re overhead. But if you’re helping the boss to increase revenues then you’re an essential part of the company.
4. You don’t do what you say you’re going to do.
If you promise something, deliver it. If you’re supposed to be at work by 8:30, be there. If you’re responsible for the new phone system, the inventory count, the maintenance on the company’s truck or the training of that new employee just do it. Business owners are under-staffed and under-resourced. We need help. We need people that will say “yes” and execute. We need doers more than thinkers. We need people that can be relied upon and trusted and when we find those people we never let them go. We are endeared to those who are competent. There is a worldwide shortage of people who do what they say they’re going to do and just by following this simple rule you’ll have a lifelong friend.: your employer.
5. Finally, you’re not grateful.
I know this sounds trite. But you work for a good company. You like the people. You like the owners. Sure we have our faults. But no company is completely rosy and trust me – every company has its issues. But we’re trying. We’re hustling. We’re doing our best to keep our business stable and growing even through these slow economic times and that means we’re doing our best for you. You are relying on us for your livelihood and we don’t take that responsibility lightly. We pay our bills on time and we’re there for you if you need. You’re not a faceless robot at some giant corporation – you’re an important part of our business. We’re grateful for that. But you should be grateful too. Showing that appreciation once in a while – a thank you or a compliment – goes a long way for the business owner who does nothing but deal with headaches all day long.