We told some successful little biz bosses that they faced some team communication challenges – and overcoming – to help you build and maintain a happy team.
1. Regularly, and anonymously, ask for feedback.
Meet the Owners: In 2017, life and business partners Morgan and Andy Somer started as a local handicraft retail store in Forth and Nomad Houston – after experiencing the magic of local offers while traveling abroad. Five years later, it has become a multi-position “good-for-nothing lifestyle brand” that promotes sustainability. And, great coffee for everyone.
The problem: Last fall, we had a manager in our place who didn’t properly respect the lines between management and associates. At the same time, one of their colleagues presented with a bad attitude and they were able to lower the morale of the whole team. As a result, we had to dive deeper to identify and bring out the people who are no longer bringing their best into our business – and change how things went. Eventually, we had to hire another manager.
Lesson: When we hear about the problem, it goes a long way. No one wanted to work with members of this group, but no one was comfortable saying that because there was no clear channel for complaints or suggestions.
Solution: We’ve created a process so that our team can provide anonymous feedback, as well as a monthly review of their managers, with the goal of identifying any potential issues early on. The whole team fills it up – and everyone seems to be honest about it since we started, which has been incredibly helpful.
Sync your team with our easy-to-use, all-in-one employee app.
2. Have a backup plan for your backup plan
Meet the Owners: Mother and daughter couple Joey and Val Jackson saw the need for a natural beauty salon while at Val College, and the seeds were planted for hair. They start in their home and make it a staple for natural, paraben-free beauty products. Durham, North Carolina.
The problem: When we interviewed the candidates, a lot of people came to us and said that they are excited to work with us and look forward to starting Monday. And then the boom – life happens. Someone gets sick, or for some other reason they can’t keep the initial promise.
Lesson: Many times, we find ourselves scrambling to get coverage. So, we always have to remember that we need a backup plan – even for our backup plan.
Solution: We use the Homebase app to make it easier to communicate in the event of an unforeseen event. If employees need to trade a shift with someone, they can do it easily. They don’t even have to call us.
3. Understand that everyone communicates separately.
Meet the Manager: Kenya is an 11-year retailer with experience in retail management and works to maintain employee well-being, take care of the enhanced customer situation and develop his team at Forth & Nomad to enhance their required skills. He focuses not only on training employees in their current roles, but also on preparing them for future careers.
The problem: Communication is one of the hardest things I’ve ever learned – understanding and developing my own strategies. I have been in various situations where I think, “I am communicating with you. It does not resonate. So maybe you don’t understand this kind of communication. Let me try this kind of communication. “
Lesson: Not everyone likes fluffy language, and not everyone likes things very directly – everyone is different. It is learning how to communicate at different levels.
Solution: It’s important to customize your communication style to suit everyone’s preferences. And it’s the same with feedback. The response is actually quite difficult, and it’s not just about learning how the person likes to communicate. It’s also about getting your emotions out of trouble and teaching your team how to react to what it is. If it resonates with you, great. If not here’s a new product just for you! Not all responses will be nice, but take what you need and move on from it.
4. A little help from labor compliance can go a long way.
Meet the Owner: MeeSun Boice, a former tech worker who calls himself an “accident-ridden restaurant”, sees the need for a restaurant in the vicinity of Treasure Island and opens a San Francisco restaurant Mercy with partner Ulrich in Partner Park. Together, the two have created a unique dining experience made from shipping containers – currently the # 1 restaurant recommendation for San Francisco on Trip Advisor.
The problem: Business owners wear many hats. You’re cooking, you’re cleaning, you’re sitting at the table and you have to be the HR person who handles all the requirements and regulations. There are many HR rules.
Lesson: Employees must take a break. But, if my employees only work six hours and want to work through breaks to get paid for it, they can opt out. If they take out the clock even a minute late, I will be deemed to have not complied with the break rules and will have to pay an extra hour and a half. I don’t have time to manage everyone’s watch time. And, if I don’t pay attention, fines will be added.
In a word: technology. Personally, I prefer to use Homebase because it warns me if an employee does not clock out and also gives me the ability to change any late clock-out time as needed.