One of my recent articles I talked about how I learned the 75% employee rule whereby I strived to find employees who could and would perform at 75% of the way I would do the job. Learning this rule was hard for me and it is for most operators who are control freaks, because if you are not a control freak when you start your business it will get out of control and before long you won’t have a business or if you do have a business it is not being guided by you, but instead by your employees. If this should happen that is what we call “the inmates running the prison”.
Employees are a necessary evil and I say that partly in jest and part seriously too, because somedays you love your employees and somedays you would love to get rid of your employees. However, if you want to grow a prosperous business that has scalability you must have employees.
So, how did I get my employees to perform at the 75% level and sometimes even better? I learned that employees are not mind readers. By this I mean they are generally doing the best they can with the information they have been given.
What most employers do after deciding to hire an employee is give them a list of their job description, the companies employee manual on how things are done and with a list of the benefits they can expect and then either a verbal or written list of things they want the employee to do. Then someone will help either mentor or monitor the new employee in guiding them and watching their progress as to how they perform the job and if they are getting the duties they have been assigned done in a timely and proper way. Then after a while the employee is on their own and supposedly doing the job they were hired for.
Here is where the disconnect comes in. Either the person who trained them or overseen them has wandered off and is doing their job. The new employee begins to get the job done, but not in the way you wanted it done. And why is that? Because the employee is not a mind reader. I know you are probably thinking. I showed them what to do and I told them what to do so what is the problem.
The problem is that you didn’t share with them your priorities. Here is what I mean and the solution to the employee not performing at the level you want them to.
Everybody has certain quirks and priorities in their life and how they want things done and because of these things it determines whether we like someone or the way they do their job.
What you want to do is list what the top 5-10 priorities are to you for the job you are wanting the employee to do. For example. In your mind the top 5 priorities for the employees’ job may be
- You like detail. Which means all the reports are completed and not done halfway.
- Timeliness is important. Always be on time.
- Written communication. Always follow up a conversation with an email or letter to ensure nothing is lost in translation.
- Staying on task. Once you start something don’t stop until it is finished.
- Fess up when you mess up. Be accountable good or bad for your actions.
By sharing with your employees what your priorities are you eliminate the possibility of them having to guess as to how you want the job done and the odds are much better the employee will perform in the way you want and at the 75% level.