Small businesses often allocate tasks to people that work for them above the level of authority in a larger business. This can be a great source of frustration for employees who have experience working in the industry.
As the team workers have direct access to the business owner who is used to doing the work themselves, often the business owner may not realize that they are actually allocating management tasks.
This may seem to the business owner as just how you do things in a small business. However, what you are doing is giving the worker management experience to put on their resume. This gives the worker the confidence to apply for management jobs, which pay better, even in a small business.
People don’t leave a job for better money. How do they know they can get better money for another company if they are not looking for a better-paying job? And a job is no longer an employment agreement.
What is a “Job”?
Working under an ABN as a “Solopreneur”, AKA, a business as a sole trader, is also considered a “job” by the ATO. It is categorized as a “self-employment agreement”, and now you can get funding (as a wage subsidy through Centrelink) and 12 months of coaching to set yourself up with a job. With all of the flexible work arrangements, the Fair Work Commission is trying to get larger businesses to do.
The key definition from the ATO as to if you are a “contractor” or under an “employment agreement” is contractors have the ability to set their own hours of work, and also are allowed to subcontract their work to meet the demands of the client outcomes. So if you are looking for that, read our previous blog on Thinking of starting a business, and want to know how to do that. But for Employers and employees, please read on.
You don’t hear people talking at the pub, saying “I love my job”, and their friends say “yeah, but you could get better money working for another company”. Usually, they say, “wow, how can I get a job like that”. Money doesn’t even come up unless they say they don’t like their job.
People who are doing what they love, and are allowed to do regularly, don’t say they don’t like their job. If they don’t love what the do in their job they say “it’s OK”, so don’t want to leave. However, this is what has been coined as “quiet quitting”, which is the situation employees (and business owners) find themselves in where they stay because they don’t know what else they can do.
This is becoming the biggest problem in Business today, as part of the “great resignation” debate. Job ads were at their highest levels since before the GFC. It takes 8 weeks (at least) to replace good employees, who only have to give you 1 or 2 weeks’ notice. That is a big cost to micro-businesses if 20% of their staff leave.
What’s the problem?
2 quotes spring to mind whenever I have this discussion with Small Business owners.
- The problem is not “what if we train them well and they leave?”, the problem (for any business) is “what if we don’t train them well, and they stay” – Henry Ford. That want really costs a small business money, customers, and time, as there is nowhere for them to hide
- Train them well enough so they can leave, then treat them well so they don’t have to – Richard Branson
A third quote, from this century, is “people don’t leave bad jobs, they leave bad bosses” – Simon Sinek.
What makes a bad boss? Lots of things, but in this case, it’s poor delegation skills.
While leaders and managers may have been promoted because of their skills in the job they were doing, if they are not trained well in leadership and management, then this becomes a big problem.
Job ads are back to the level they were before the GFC, but this time, the unemployment rate is much lower. So if staff leave you, it will be very tough to replace them anytime soon.
What good leaders and managers both do
Good leaders and managers know the capabilities of the people in their care. If they delegate work above the person’s required skill level for their job, good managers reward their team no matter if they ask for it or not.
It’s not about the money, it’s usually acknowledgment that they are performing above their pay grade, and they feel appreciated and secure in their job. Why would they look for another one?
If this is a problem for you, here is something that might help you out. This list is from the core skills for work framework used in business training qualifications.
Do an audit on yourself and your delegation skills before saying “don’t you know how hard it is to get good staff”?
Maybe you need to employ a supervisor or manager, even if you have no other staff. Sometimes business owners need to accept they are not the best person to be managing the business
Team member skills
- Plans a range of routine, and some non-routine, tasks, accepting stated goals and aiming to achieve them efficiently
- Applies formal processes when planning more complex/unfamiliar tasks, producing plans with logically sequenced steps, reflecting some awareness of time and resource constraints and the needs of others in the immediate vicinity
- Implements actions as per plan, making slight adjustments if necessary, and addressing some unexpected issues
- Seeks assistance from more experienced colleagues as required
- May use ICT based systems and programs to assist with planning, implementing and tracking progress
- Assesses effectiveness in terms of how well-stated goals were achieved and how closely the process followed the original plan and timeframes
- Develops plans to manage relatively complex, non-routine tasks with an awareness of how they may contribute to longer term operational and strategic goals
- Begins to recognise the importance of other stakeholders throughout the process and is learning to clarify goals and proposed methodology with others, maintain communication and manage expectations and understanding
- Monitors actions against stated goals, adjusting plans and resources to cope with contingencies
- Uses a combination of formal, logical planning processes and an increasingly intuitive understanding of context to identify relevant information and risks, identify and evaluate alternative strategies and resources
- Sequences and schedules complex activities, monitors implementation and manages relevant communication e.g. formal project management processes and associated technology
- Reflects on outcomes and feedback from others in order to identify general principles and concepts that may be applicable in new situations
- Recognises the need for flexibility and is learning how to adjust or even abandon plans as circumstances and priorities change
- Develops flexible plans for complex, high impact activities with strategic implications that involve a diverse range of stakeholders with potentially competing demands
- Recognises the critical importance of clarifying, focusing and aligning goals and expectations, and may use the process to build ownership of, and broad commitment to achieving outcomes
- Uses a mix of intuitive and formal processes to identify key information and issues, evaluate alternative strategies, anticipate consequences and consider implementation issues and contingencies
- May operate from a broad conceptual plan, developing the operational detail in stages, regularly reviewing priorities and performance during implementation, identifying and addressing issues and reallocating resources
- Skilfully utilises existing structures and systems to coordinate activity, or designs new processes as required
- Focuses effort on what is most important, delegating to others as required, managing interruptions, recognising potential issues and taking quick action to identify and resolve problems
- Gathers data and seeks feedback from others to gain new perspectives and identify ways to strengthen planning processes in the future
If you need more help with this, or in a hole and can’t see a way out, let’s have a chat. Every business goes through this at some point. We have options anyone can do, and people in our network that can help anyone too.