One of the clients I work with asked me this question and after thinking about it I felt it deserved a post here. Here was my answer.
What can be expected from employees?
This is not a simple question. What should be expected from employees is: They perform all the duties of their position in such a manner as to insure the company meets or exceeds it’s goals and customers are more than happy with the service or product that they provide, and they do so without causing undue stress on the management, the business or the clients while meeting the determined and agreed upon goals for their position.
For each position duties are different and for each business, and sometimes each manager these duties vary depending on what they focus on and what they are comfortable with.
I think that another question must be asked along with this one. What can be expected from the company besides a paycheck and a place to hang your hat?
Technicians should inspect and diagnose vehicles, report the information to the sales/service team and when the work is sold perform the work in such a manner that it last at least (insert your numbers here)-months or (insert your numbers here)-miles or for as long as the original part did.
They should do so within the parameters of the systems and processes that have been installed in the business and determined by ownership and management to be necessary. This includes but is not limited to: showing up to work on time, in the proper apparel and within company determined grooming standards ready to perform their duties: inspecting, diagnosing and repairing the vehicle in the method determined to be best for the client and the business, keeping their areas clean and safe, obtaining the necessary tools and education to stay current, properly filling out all paperwork necessary to document what is needed in the manner determined and taught by the business. (Inspection and diagnostic sheets, estimates, labor descriptions, final work performed, parts requisitions, and anything else that has been deemed to be necessary to communicate properly with the customer and protect the company including all documentation to keep the business legal with federal, state and local authorities. etc), attending and participating in all meetings deemed necessary by management, generally learning and following all systems and processes that are in place in the business and doing so with a positive attitude.
They should be loyal to the business, which means: They should not talk bad about the business, its products, their co-workers or ownership. And, they should uphold all of the standards of the business taught to them by ownership and management to the highest level possible. They should properly represent the company in everything they do while at work and in their personal lives. (This should be clearly spelled out in the employee manual)
Service Advisors should be the conduit between technicians and the customer. Helping the customer understand what is necessary, why it is necessary and what the consequences of not doing recommended work are. Clearly, accurately and concisely stating the customers concerns for the technician using company approved and taught methods. They should sell what has been determined to be their goal at the appropriate agreed upon margins and do so while maintaining 95% or above customer satisfaction.
They should guarantee that all work sold and performed is fair for all parties concerned; the customer is getting a job done well using quality parts that are guaranteed and will last for (put in your numbers here)-months and (put in your numbers here)-miles, the company is receiving a fair profit for this work (put your number in here), and the employee is fairly compensated for his/her work (which would include pay, benefits and working environment).
They should follow all of the processes and procedures determined by ownership and management to be necessary and in the manner that is acceptable to management as well as fill out all necessary paperwork to properly estimate, sell and document what has taken place so that the customer can understand it and the business is protected. This would include: reports, estimates, documentation of customer discussions, sales paperwork, labor descriptions, and anything else that has been deemed to be necessary to communicate properly with the customer and protect the company including all documentation to keep the business legal with federal, state and local authorities.
They should show up to work on time, in the proper apparel and within company determined grooming standards ready to perform their duties. They will ultimately be in a leadership and management role in dealing with technicians and GS/Tire techs and with customers so they will need to learn and master communication, leadership and management skills to guarantee the consistent performance and profits of the business. They should attend and participate in all company and management meeting with the idea of helping the company to be successful and meet its financial goals and obligations.
They should be loyal to the business, which means: They should not talk bad about the business, its products, their co-workers or ownership. And, they should uphold all of the standards taught to them by ownership and management to the highest level possible. They should properly represent the company in everything they do while at work and in their personal lives. (This should be clearly spelled out in the company manual)
I am sure that there are additional things that I have not included but I don’t like lengthy job descriptions and I find that longer the job description the less that will sink in. These job descriptions should be accompanied by an employee manual that better defines the company standards, a procedures manual with all procedures that the employee will need to master for his/her position and a schedule or time-line that can be monitored and checked off by a supervisor or trainer as they master each procedure.
The problem with most business and managers is that they have not defined most of what they are asking the employee to do and therefore cannot communicate what is required properly to the employee or train them in an efficient and succinct manner. And if the employee doesn’t understand “clearly” what is required how can we get agreement and hold them accountable. Most businesses have no more training than telling the employee to go out into the world and be productive or efficient and never define what that means or get the employee to agree that it is possible, let alone understand where or how we can help the employee be successful. Add to that, no measurement, no timely and consistent feedback (except when they have really made us mad), no effective and consistent management, or communication and you have a recipe for disappointment and failure for the business and the employee.
This idea of telling an employee to be productive or go out and sell without defining the why, how, how much, when and what are the benefits (or consequences) is ineffective at best and destructive at worst. And, in today’s business it will not work.
What the company can do for the employee besides provide a place to work and a consistent and timely paycheck is clearly define what is required for success, train the employee as necessary to competency in all required tasks, closely monitor and manage performance, and get them education, training and help in the areas that they are deficient. Also, let them go if and when it is determined that the employee cannot or will not perform the duties of the position within acceptable standards.
I am sure that we can define this further and I plan to do so as soon as possible.