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Giving the Boss a Job Review

Inviting employees to provide input
to the owner or manager

Many of the progressive retailers will have an established procedure for the evaluation of their employees if they have a time line for salary reviews.  In many businesses, it will go something like this.  A new hire is given an initial pay rate.  They are told that salary reviews are given every six or twelve months.  There is a job description that details their responsibilities, and in many cases they are also given a job specification list that details how to perform certain tasks.

Many of these businesses also utilize a policy and procedure manual, which outlines many items such as vacation, proper attire, and other areas of concern to all employees.  The next bit of information is what few businesses have.  And that is a written explanation of how the next salary review will be graded. It is a form that gives a logical listing of the areas in which an employee is reviewed.  No matter how many areas you would detail, if you grade on a one to ten scale, and tell the employee what the "passing grade" is, there can be no question as to whether or not the employee is entitled to his next pay raise.

Truly, these are ideas that the progressive business has in place, and these are usually the businesses that have employees that are demonstrating the highest skills and are most qualified to take care of your customers.  So, we have covered one of the areas of concern for most businesses, right?  And the lines of communication between the employer and employee are well established, right? Not quite.  Communication is a two way street, and so far we have clearly defined what we anticipate from our employees.

What if you asked your employees how they felt you were performing as an owner?  How many of them would give you an honest answer? This is not to suggest that we are going to turn the control of your business to your employees.  But employees are just like everyone else.  They feel better if they know that their opinions matter.  And if they feel better, you and your customers will not only feel better, but you will receive profit from your actions.

Just like the job scenario we described with the review of your employees, a similar situation can be created with your job.  During one of your training programs, hand each of your employees a sheet of paper that is entitled, "The job description for ... (formerly known as 'boss').  Ask them to fill in the blank, and then numbering the left side of the page from one to ten, have them write down what they believe are the ten most important things that you do. You will probably have to provide them with a list that details jobs such as creating the financial sheets, payroll, open to buys, long range planning, scheduling, and all of the other behind the scene tasks that you perform.

As they complete their forms, if you feel they will be uncomfortable about giving this list to you, ask them to only make a notation as to their job.  Sales people put an "S" on the upper right corner of the sheet, warehouse staff put a "W", and and so on with each of the various departments and types of jobs your staff has. As you compile this list, you will most likely see a pattern of what your employees feel is important to them. 

Should their list of important items be your list of important items?  To some degree, no.  But as to the appearance that you have before your employees, the answer will be a resounding yes! To demonstrate that you are serious about having a job evaluation from your employees, tabulate these initial inputs and create a score sheet. 

Post the results so that everyone can see the results of their joint efforts.  Then sit down with your key people, and using all of the score sheets, create a job description. 

You will probably even get a new job title from this meeting. Now, you will have a job description just like everyone else in your business.  And with the same frequency as your employees, ask every employee to rate your performance using the same scale for yourself as you do for them.  Sure, you may have a large enough business that there are several employees that you rarely have contact with.  But it remains important that they know you are concerned about their opinion.

Allow your supervisors to tabulate the score from your job evaluations and sit with them to review your performance.  If you do not have a level of comfort with this select group of employees, you will surely create one quickly. As they provide you with the results of the review, ask for further information on areas where your efforts are in need of improvement.  One way to make sure that this event occurs in a positive manner is to require that any criticism given must be followed by a definitive suggestion for improvement of that particular concern.

You may find that you will even allow your supervisors to give suggestions for your pay raises.  Just make sure that you and the supervisors understand that your salary is for that of the owner of the business.  Your salary cannot include the expected return on the investment that you have in your inventory, fixtures, and building.

That return on investment is reserved for the stockholders. And during this job review, you are not the stockholder, but are the owner/manager or whatever title you and your supervisors decide on.

Does this idea work?  Absolutely!  And be prepared to enjoy a camaraderie and working atmosphere that you had never thought possible.

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This article is copyrighted by Tom Shay and Profits Plus Solutions, who can be reached at: PO Box 1577, St. Petersburg, Fl. 33731. Phone 727-464-2182. It may be printed for an individual to read, but not duplicated or distributed without expressed written consent of the copyright owner.

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