Bryant: Team Members, Not Employees

April 28, 2023
When implementing new processes, remember the whole shop is in it together.

When implementing or updating processes, it's important to remember that you are working with team members, not mere employees. Each of your team members is an individual, and each has unique qualities that make them invaluable assets to your business. It is essential for you to recognize and appreciate the contributions of all members of your team. Creating effective policies and procedures can be exciting. However, with such a high level of accountability required for SOP development, it's imperative that you foster an environment that encourages collaboration, creativity and passion within your shop. It all starts with viewing team members not just as employees but as people who have a vested stake in the future of your business. When team members are treated right and given autonomy and ownership, it leads to great things!  

Accountability: The Glue that Ties Commitment to Results 

Whatever your team comes up with must be communicated to the next responsible team member by referencing the standard operating procedure created. If time is spent on updating or developing new policies/processes and administration allows the continued practice of muscle memory or "how we have always done it" then your journey to foundational standard operating procedures will be short-lived. As you move forward, remember any developed process should be able to be executed by the lowest level team member capable of the position with minimal follow-up or clarification. Don't waste time on the exceptions. They will come, and it will be the administration's job to define if a separate policy should be implemented. 

Initially, focus on the most significant hurdles in your store today. Communication throughout this journey will be absolutely key. If you are the only one within the store truly working on developing or improving internal policy and procedure, it simply won't work. Your team must have buy-in and believe they created the SOP or had taken part in its origin. As attempts to implement or execute fail, conversations can be about "What do you think we missed?" or, "What can we tweak or update to have the outcome we are after every single time?" Making this a company-wide journey can be exhausting. However, suppose you don't set aside time for internal meetings around the plan. In that case, the team will unintentionally spend more time explaining why the policy or procedure you developed doesn't work, how it is costing them more time. Then they will work to convince you that you should let them return to what they have always done. Therefore, the valuable energy required to execute the implementation correctly will be lost.  

Remember, regardless of the team member's level, they will always embrace their inner resistance to change behaviors. Your most significant impact will be ensuring that any improved or newly developed SOP is executed under the highest level of accountability possible. Your overall target should be to keep everything consistent and repeatable, & everyone instills the discipline to keep the focus on a never-ending pursuit of improvement.  

Building Processes with Invested Team Members 

When building successful processes within your shop, the most valuable asset is a team of invested members. Having team members passionate about their work and dedicated to the company's success can make all the difference. The administration needs to prioritize building solid relationships with their team, providing opportunities for growth and development, and creating a positive work environment. What would you rather hear from a team member? "What I do is" or "What we do is"? When employees feel valued and supported, they are more likely to be engaged in the process. By creating an environment where everyone works together towards a common goal, you are fostering a sense of unity and cultivating an atmosphere of collaboration, trust and respect. Referring to your staff as team members rather than general employees might initially sound simple, but I can attest that these details make all the difference. A strong team of invested members can help streamline processes, improve efficiency, and drive innovation.  

"Employees” vs. “Team Members” 

Referring to team members as just employees can have a negative impact on company culture and morale. When individuals are reduced to merely being a number or a job title, it can lead to a lack of connection and investment in the shop. Employees may feel undervalued and unimportant, leading to a decrease in motivation and productivity. On the other hand, when team members are referred to by their names and recognized for their contributions, it breeds a sense of community and belonging within the workplace. This promotes a positive work environment where individuals feel valued and motivated to contribute their best work. In the long run, acknowledging and respecting team members beyond their job titles can lead to greater company success and overall employee satisfaction. 

Creating an Effective Communication System 

Communication helps build trust and improved teamwork, resulting in improved productivity within a shop. An effective communication system considers the needs of all parties involved, including team members at all levels, clients and even vendor relationships. It provides a platform for sharing information, exchanging ideas and giving and receiving feedback, resulting in better decision-making and problem-solving. In today's fast-paced environment, having a well-established communication system can make all the difference in achieving your shop's goals. It is crucial to invest time and resources into developing and implementing a communication system that caters to the organization's specific needs to ensure success.