One of the things I am embracing this year is the power of language. The word, “Boss” has a tone that is different than the word, “Leader.” I had a negative idea about being a boss but I easily embrace the word Leader. So I now am a Leader of a “Team”. I like “Team” so much better than “employee” or “staff”.
I have told you some stories about my son, Max. He is almost 9 and is exploring roles of power. He is obsessed lately with the idea of minions and is always jockeying for a second in command position. He is not ready for full Leadership but he wants to ride closely. He loves conversations about rankings and so jobs are dispersed as such. Today you are the First Assistant to Waste Control Coordinator take s the place of “help your dad take out the garbage.” And the Vice President of Uniform Disbursement takes the place of put your dang clothes away, child! Max is teaching me that inspiring someone is fun and gets the job done!
Along with titles and language, I am learning the value of VALUE. I have earned a reputation amongst my colleague friends as paying my employees more than the “market standard”. As a previous CA for many years, I recognize what an incredible role the team plays in the office success and so I want to reward that. I get concerned when I see low wages going to chiropractic assistants and wonder if we are valuing their impact too little. What if we made the position more technical? Involve people who knew web magic to create online spinal care workshops and facebook-like community and spread our message with ease and speed? Maybe our idea of a CA is outdated and needs an overhaul.
What you decide to pay your team is a decision that only you can make. You must be responsible to your business expenses. If you are just setting up your expenses, I would consider following these guidelines. Take care of yourself first. Invest in YOU, Inc. Pay yourself first and fairly. Make sure you set up money for caring for your physical, mental and spiritual self for the year. You need to feel reimbursed. Invest in a team second. A good team should come before deciding to buy furniture . A good team will take you farther than any love seat ever will.
Another thing you will need to consider is benefits! In the world we live it, that is what people look for. It is what they want and if you want great people to stay with you forever, you’re gonna have to pay and show them the love!
Many small businesses have a hard time creating great teams because they cannot attract people and entice them with perks the way bigger corporations can. Consider creating thoughtful benefits for your team. Some of them will force you to create alliances with local business which is a form of advertising but more personal and impactful.
1.If your space provides, or a nearby space provides, consider offering day care. Massachusetts, where I practice is one of the most expensive states for child care. It costs on average $169.00 per week. For a full time employee, that is about 4.00 extra per hour. Sometimes paying a benefit like this can lower your payroll expenses. Ask your accountant to guide you in making an informed choice.
2.Direct deposit. This is easy and free and thoughtful.
3.Free chiropractic care for employee and family members. This is a no brainer and in your best interest. It will allow your team to share you easily. (A recent new patient came to me and I was surprised to see that she worked for another chiropractor. She informed me that they require her to pay for her care and she preferred to go elsewhere and pay. Yikes! I do NOT want that happening for my team. Create loyalty. Create support and it will comeback to you.)
4.If you offer massage , give free massage to your team or highly discounted massage.
5.Offer fruit and great snacks so that people are replenished.
6.Offer gym equipment or purchase a group membership at a club nearby. It is another opportunity to create a relationship with a local business for increased exposure to your practice. Build your Team and Build Your Practice.
7.Set up a meditation room or do an exchange with a yoga teacher in your office for a special class for your Team.
8.Employees love gifts: free movie tickets, free car wash, oil change.If you are out doing something for yourself consider doing it for them as well..
9. Do a community service project together. One of my dear friends loves volunteering at the Special Olympics with her company. Her family has gotten involved and join her every year.
10.Free lunch one time per month. Little things like this increase a person feeling lucky to be with you and part of your Circle.
11.Consider the needs of the person: a guy dominated office might like tickets to baseball games. A young mom would value flex hours and working from home.
12.Professional training: offer ways for them to excel. No one comes to work to do a bad job. Everyone wants to feel proud and that they are making a contribution. Help them to shine.
13.Bonus system: consider installing a fun bonus system: if we reach a certain goal, everyone gets an ipad or an overnight stay a the spa. Find out what is hot and offer it.
Know that we are all emotional creatures and need to FEEL good at work. Be thoughtful with your Team. VALUE them. Give them feedback. Have the courage to let them go when you are unhappy. Set them free lovingly and take responsibility for not leading as well as you could have and then move on and do better.
It matters. All of this matters. If all of our offices had teams with great character, tons of skill, commitment and focus, IMAGINE what we could do for our communities and for humanity. Take time to structure what you will give to people. Create a system to create THEIR goals and REVIEW them. I have been horrible about this in the past and am working with our human resources coach, the brilliant Sara Martinian, to clean up my bad habits. What I see so clearly now is that creating a great team can make the difference between good and GREAT. Now go out there and be GREAT and bloom!
I think back over my past 15 years in practice and the many lessons that have come from being in practice. There are moments in the office that filled me with such love and grace and gratitude to be a part of the practice we have created. And there are other moments that have swamped me with feelings of ineptitude and shame. Being someone’s boss is one of those things for me. For a few years I nicknamed myself “the Boss from Hell”.
It took me 10 years in business before I created a job description. (Since then, I have created one that actually includes the phrase-amongst many specifics-your job is to do whatever it takes.) I have had high expectations of people who work for me and been unclear about that. I have made assumptions that people wanted what I wanted. I have been naïve and thought that no one would ever want to harm me. I have been unprofessional in so many ways without knowing or being conscious about it. I have been too close with my team and I have been too distant.
Some of the fall out of these mistakes were employee meltdowns, emotional jags, crying and lots of it!, bad partings, disruption of business, sleepless nights and a feeling like I was so unfit. My business was growing quickly and I was not feeling graceful. I was feeling like Sigourney Weaver in Working Girl…and Alien!
My husband, Steve, and I have almost always worked for ourselves. We are serial entrepreneurs. It used to be hard for us to relate to people who come to our office and expect so much with so little responsibility. We had never been paid for a day we did not work and had never gotten money without an exchange of energy.
This chip on our shoulders created tension. I take full responsibility now for the fact that I felt victimized by my staffs needs because of the way I had created my life up until then. Now I have realized a life in which I have often gotten paid for not directly working. I have so much more freedom in my work life and can relate to my employees wanting to earn a great quality of life. I want to help them to achieve that because I recognize that we all win when they win.
And so now I turn the spotlight back on you. How are you treating your team? Do they have a job description? Are the hours clear? Do you set goals with them that are FOR them? Do you help them to achieve those goals? Do you empower them? Do you value them? Do you have the courage and trust to let them go when it is not a match? Stay tuned for part 3 where I reveal me Ultimate B.O.O.T.Y Call. Or my call to be the Ultimate Boss of the year.