Keeping employees accountable and ensuring that your workers are around for the long term is critical to keeping any home service business running smoothly. Our guide provides comprehensive descriptions of ways you can ensure that your employees are accomplishing what needs to be done from new interviewee to seasoned veteran.
Many employees may want to be accountable, but simply lack the self direction or exact understanding of what is expected of their role. It is therefore important to be clear both verbally and in writing about what is expected for a particular job as well as in the position overall. We suggest you provide both verbal and written expectations so that the employee will have heard the expectations that must be met at least once directly from you in conversation where they can ask questions, and then they are also left with a record that they can refer back to should they have any doubts. When hiring new employees, bring up the job responsibilities and benchmarks that must be met early on in the interview. This ensures that you can weed out people that may not be able or willing to meet your expectations before they progress in the hiring process. an example would be the weekly hours that an employee is expected to work and the location of job sites they are expected to travel to. This will save you both time and money. There’s nothing more frustrating than thinking you’ve found a qualified employee only to find out that they were unaware of your expectations and unprepared to meet them.
However, outlining expectations is not just a piece of the interview, it is also something you must continually go over with current employees. This is because it a). It helps to bring focus back to what is most important, and b). Expectations may change over time with a new client or a shift in responsibilities.
Set Them up for Success
Part of keeping employees accountable is ensuring that they have the tools to actually follow through on their commitments. For example, if you have expressed the expectation that a certain house cleaning job must be done in three hours, yet the floors of the house are all carpet and you have not given your cleaner access to a vacuum, you should not be surprised when they take much longer to complete the job. While this may seem basic, when the craziness of a week with multi clients starts it is easy to forget these details. It can help to map out for each of your jobs that you are sending employees to what the expectation is and what prep is required (e.g., tools or supplies).
When outlining goals for your employees, take a mental inventory of what they will need to provide them with and how you will source the materials. Also take into consideration any additional training your workers will need, whether it be a lesson from you or a formal certification.
People generally do good work when they feel that it will be recognized and that the work they do matters. Physiological ownership of a task or job refers to a personal connection that an employee develops with the work that they do and a sense of pride or accomplishment they can derive from it. According to a study by Harvard Business Review, small things like allowing employees to choose their own work title, personalize equipment, or have a role in picking out the team uniform goes a long way.
Set goals and Check In
Another great way to keep employees motivated and accountable is to set measurable goals with them and engage them in setting their own goals. As discussed earlier, expectations outline the minimum bar that must be met in order to remain an employee, but setting goals taps into your worker’s ambitions.
A great way to set goals with your employees is to ask them what they would like to learn from a particular job or accomplish within a timeframe. An example would be asking them how much acreage they think could be mowed in a day. Are there areas they see that the company could improve in? What would success in their job look like to them? By understanding the ambitions and desires of your employees, you will be able to unlock their creative potential and structure jobs in a way that appeals to their long -term goals for themselves.
Have you ever been extra determined to do a task because of the offer of a reward? Then you understand the power of a good incentive. An incentive is defined as “a payment or concession to stimulate greater output or investment”. If you want to get the most out of your employees, you should consider offering a reward for particularly outstanding work. For example, you could give a gift card to the salesperson who made the most sales at the end of the year or you might give an extra day of paid vacation to your team if they can complete all existing hardscaping projects two weeks early.
Another tip is that it is often helpful is to provide small incentives on a regular basis so that employees don't lose sight of what they are working for and remain engaged.
Individual Incentive Ideas:
- free music speaker
- free cooler
- an extra day off
- employee appreciation bonus
- personalized swag (think water bottles etc.)
- weekend getaway at a nearby bed and breakfast
Team Incentive Ideas:
- pizza night
- annual bonus
- team outing such as bowling
- tickets to a sports game etc.
- food truck/ catered lunch
- collective fundraising for a charitable goal
letting your employees know you care about them and the good work they perform is a critical aspect of ensuring that your workers stay motivated and accountable. A good way to do this is to create a monthly "spotlight" for an employee that has done a particularly good job that month, or to create a showcase of employee profiles on your company website. When employees are recognized publicly, they take a new sense of pride in their work and understand that you see the value that they bring to the table. If you don't yet have a company website, or need help updating an outdated one, the ProPhone team is always here to help!
Catch Issues Early
Part of keeping employees motivated and accountable is knowing when things are off. If you notice that your employee has been doing a sloppy job on painting trim recently, schedule a meeting with them to understand what may be going wrong and what solutions exist to remedy the issue. The longer you let things drag on, the more money and effort it may take to correct them later.
A great way to work this into your weekly schedule without putting employees on edge is to block out time to meet either weekly or bi-weekly with each employee for 10-15 minutes to ask them about their progress on jobs and any feedback they might have that could improve their performance or the performance of the team.
Having the Tough Conversations
Maybe you have done everything right, but your employee still can't manage to complete their assigned work in the way you have specified. This means that it might be time to reconsider their position on your team. You can take multiple routes with this, but if you still think they have potential in general, you could try moving them to a different task and getting input from them on what might spark their interest. However, if their lack of follow through has been a persistent issue, you may need to sever professional relations with them.