If you asked your employees today,
would they be able to say “Yes!” and answer with confidence, if you ask them, “Do you know what is expected of you in your job?”.
Do they know? If you asked your employees today, would they be able to say “Yes!” and answer with confidence, if you ask them, “Do you know what is expected of you in your job?”. Gallup (https://q12.gallup.com) contends that this is the first fundamental building block in having engaged employees.
People who know what is expected of them have a sense of purpose and feel like they are both an active contributor to the company’s success, and feel they are part of something greater than themselves. But I would take that one step further with a startup environment:
“Do you know what is expected of you in your job? And are you able to work toward that end on a regular basis?” I’m going to pose something radical here - Startups are different work environments altogether. And many times, putting out the fire in front of you is what the people making startups successful have to do all day, every day. Which is okay...sometimes. For a while. But how long until fire fighting becomes the modus operandi? And is it acceptable to expect your employees to firefight as their main job expectation? Or, at some point, does that begin to wear on an employee? Are your employees ever able to get to what they were hired to do before 5:45 pm on a Thursday?
What did you hire him/her for to begin with? If you hired him/her with the expectation of “You’ll be putting out fires for me on the daily.”, and he/she said, “Awesome! That’s what I’ve always wanted to do! And that’s the best use of my education and experience!”, then you’re likely in good shape. However, if you hired someone for a specific skill set, how often is that person able to use that skill set in their daily job purpose? Can they ever walk into work and be working toward that end before noon on a given day?
Make sure you’re looking critically at what you hired people to do, versus what their roles have become as time has progressed. Is that the best use of their talents, and therefore the best use of your money? Are they satisfied with what their role has become? And if not, how can you resolve it for them? Don’t settle with assuming your employees know what’s expected of them because they’re busy all day, every day. And don’t assume if they know their job is firefighting that it is an acceptable use of their time and your company’s cash to pay them for it. Ask the hard questions to determine if their assets are being used towards the optimal tasks for the maximum benefit of your company - And if not, devote the resources to adjusting it so your employees are engaged and your startup can continue down a path of success.