Tag: staff management

 

How a Business Cope with Staff Loss

image from saveup.com

image from saveup.com

2 weeks ago, one of my Key staff  in fact a person I have been training for 3 years to replace myself was head hunted and decided to go with the offer given to him. This was a shock and a blow not only to myself, but to clients and fellow employees. So how does a business recover from this?

In the IT trade, moving jobs is a common occurrence. This is not something I am proud to express, but it is a fact. So many people are working on contract today, and the demand for quality programmers is so high, that contracts constantly overlap each other, that a person can really choose not only where they wish to work, but the type of IT work that they wish to do. So at all times I prepare for staff to leave and make sure that all people duplicate each other and that all information is recorded.

We have systems that cover for staff turnover. So the core work is always being achieved, and clients are not being disadvantaged by changes of staff in a technical sense. However the human sense is affected.

This occurrence can cause impact on current staff, as they have to learn to work with a new staff member.

CRM in word tag cloudSo one part of the solution to this problem, is that for core work, you need to have good systems, in fact a good database. What can you expect from such a system? A CRM or customer relationship management systems can control not only your customer, but generally link the data you need to retain about your customer, your contacts, your quotes, your invoices can link to this as well if it is a good system.

At Accede we have recently been interfacing off the shelf CRM’s to Accounting products, estimation packages and other products. By creating this interface for the client, it is a seamless way to see the whole of the customer’s information.

Other places I have created solutions for include knowledge based systems. These systems in fact hold expertise, experience etc. from key people. Knowledge bases for a user is like talking to the expert about a problem. The knowledge base take a person through a potential issue, what questions they should ask, what possible answers they may get, and what to do next. It is a like having the expert right beside you without having them there. I have noticed, however, that this is generally the main reason that the loss of Key staff is hugely impacting.

The other part of the equation, being the human affect, is solved only by communication. This communication is essential if you wish to retain clients, build new clients and retain existing staff members.

Losing staff and clients is a fact and generally not in your control (unless you need to review your management). However retaining clients and staff is something you need to constantly work on. The key to this retention is communication. Take the time. Discuss. Share. Find ways to openly communicate in a respectful manner. Praise where praise is due. Discuss problems without being personal or denigrating. Work as a team.

Insurance of key staff, often helps with the financial aspect, but good systems will help with the core work and management. Plus make sure your staff’s work is overlapped, so that people can take holidays and the loss of a staff member can quickly be covered.

 

Cate Schafing is a successful Australian business woman in the IT field serving as CEO of Accede Holdings Pty. Ltd. makers of Ezymeetz, ICE and Virtual Gym. She develops innovative new technological products as a programmer and entrepreneur. In gratitude for her success her company supports NFP’s by donating $5000 per month in programming time for NFP’s requesting work.

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Making the most out of Client-Staff Relationship

5c6e3604057235d6f905282b70bff640This is the stuff nightmares are made of – or at least this is how I feel right now. For those business owners who manage staff who sell the outcomes of their intellect, this is the hardest part of owning a business. I feel this is a total load balancing act and as the owner, I am a tight rope walker.

Problem – To give quality product at high profit margin – quality long term staff are the keys to success. You also need to employ those better than yourself whenever possible and certainly in specialty areas if you want a long term safe business.

The problem is to keep this kind of employee happy is always a challenge. This kind of employee needs challenge, but not too much and not too hard in respect to delivery times. They need to feel good about their work. They generally like to be part of a team, even if the part is only signs of appreciation and discussion. They need to be respected in all areas of their life by their employee.

Here is the problem. The client thinks they are always right and don’t give a damn about how they treat your staff – they can do what they want. In the end you can try to manage this, accept this and lose staff or walk away.

So how to manage this – these are my tips.

  1. 1403015865-5-tips-building-strong-relationships-clientsRemember going into an agreement is a 2 way streak. You can be offered a sale but you don’t have to accept the sale if you see signs that this business is an abusive business. It will probably only cost you in the end.
  2. There are times a good business has stress and will behave in what you may consider as unrealistic ways. This does not mean it is a bad business. There always needs to be give and take.
  3. Be clear about your expectations and demand a win/win relationship. However chose your timing in regards to demands.
  4. Protect your staff where ever possible from abusive clients, and don’t be afraid to stay – No. Sometimes you just have to.
  5. Finally remember – if you are busting your guts to fix an abusive situation consider letting go of it, and spending your time on a more productive option.
  6. Weigh up your approach. Sometimes the direct approach is necessary – but this is rare and you have a high chance that this approach will not end up in your favour – unless your desire is to end the relationship. It may be better to offer a win / win outcome.
  7. Choose your battle. Customers could write or say abusive things – this is purely the emotion related to the problem. Solve the problem – don’t go over the abuse. Deal with the abuse and decide how you want to deal with that as a separate matter. Don’t get the two mixed together.
  8. Ask your staff – if you have a company need that is above and beyond, and accept a No. But do not ask too often. Encourage a No, and accept this graciously without any stress or guilt being passed on.
  9. Be prepared to say Goodbye. 5% of your clients will bring you 95% of your profits and they take only 5% of your stress, whilst the other 95% of your stress only brings 5% profits. A customer who always brings stress – is just not worth it – Say Goodbye.

Clients can be abusive and not even know it. I see this all the time in programming.

Here are some examples and suggested ways of managing.

I asked for this, why isn’t it done? (never mind they only asked for it 5 minutes ago, and you have not had chance to make this change) Explain clearly, I understand you want this change. This change will take X time to programme and test. You can expect to get this back to yourself by..

I would like to meet with you at 9.30pm (the time of this request is 6.30pm, and you work a 9-5 day).Generally you can consider a once off with this request, but let it be known this is a once off.

So if you find this area a challenge as a manager – remember each experience must be handled uniquely and with wisdom. This wisdom you will gain with experience and reviewing of a situation. So if you lose, turn that into a win, by reviewing and gaining experience. If you Win – Double up, by reviewing and gaining experience.

Bottom line – bullying and harassment by any one, client, owner or staff is not acceptable. So don’t just accept it, take control and work out what you want to do and how you want to handle this matter.

 

Cate Schafing is a successful Australian business woman in the IT field serving as CEO of Accede Holdings Pty. Ltd. makers of Ezymeetz, ICE and Virtual Gym. She develops innovative new technological products as a programmer and entrepreneur. In gratitude for her success her company supports NFP’s by donating $5000 per month in programming time for NFP’s requesting work.

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