People.  Your most valued and often underutilized resource.  You have the product.  You have the marketing.  You have all the customers you want.  What is missing?  The employees you have just are not working as hard as you, or don’t do it as well as you would.  This is a common challenge with today’s small businesses.  When you started your business, you did it to give yourself freedom and now you are working more that you ever did when you worked for the man.

One of the sure-fire killers of employee moral, productivity and ultimately retention is no clear strategy.  What do you stand for as a company? It was easy when it was just you.  You knew what you wanted.  But do your people?

Creating a clear operating strategy is an important piece of business planning, but add employees to the mix and it is a necessity.  If your employees understand the vision and direction that you are setting as a leader then they are more likely to see the big picture and understand the Why’s behind what you are doing.  I can hear you asking right now, why does my secretary or bookkeeper need to understand the vision of the company they are just answering the phone or cooking (ops balancing) the books.  Interesting argument, lets take the person who answers your phone. They are one of the most important people to understand the strategy. 

How do you want to treat customer?  What do you want your customer experience to be like? If you as a leader decide that you are operating a company that has zero tolerance for rudeness then how might that apply to that person.  If your company has a sales strategy that wants to determine where your customers vacation in order market more effectively, do you think the person that answers your phone can be an integral part of that.  Tactics aside, understanding the vision and mission of your organization will allow you people to be creative and flourish.  By teaching them what you expect and how you expect to treat others they you can move on to the more strategic elements of the business and leave the day to day with the team.

So what to do:

Determine it. Make sure you have a vision and an understanding of what you want your business to be?
Articulate it. Make sure you can say it in a way that is understandable to you and your employees. Make sure you can tell them what it looks like to you.
Check for Understanding. Make sure that your employees can explain it andwhat it looks like.  If they can’t, you haven’t explained it well enough.
Live it. Now is your chance to live what you love.

Good luck.  Remember a vision and mission are integral to improving morale, productivity and ultimately employee retention.

Russ Faulkner is the Principal at Your Training Team, LLC. We are dedicated to helping you grow your business by focusing on your most valuable resource … Your People. We provide best in class employee development solutions to ensure our clients can compete in today’s tough marketplace.