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How to set quality standards that build company-wide success

22 February 2018 / By Desley Grant

Quality standards and key performance indicators (KPIs) enable a business to track and monitor its operations.

Ultimately, the growth and success of your company will largely be determined by the consistency of its results, so you and your team need to be working towards common goals.

To achieve this, you need to ensure acceptable quality standards are well defined for employees. Simply assuming standards are understood by employees is not enough and as a worst case scenario, can lead to business-damaging results.

As an owner, perhaps you have strong objectives for your company but are unsure how to communicate them to employees or how to formulate a plan to do so?

Possibly you’re looking for better support, information or processes to raise your business to the next level but don’t know where to start?

In this fourth instalment of our six-part blog series based on our new infographic we explain why quality standards are critical to a growing, flourishing business.

Each blog in the series helps business owners work more ‘on’ rather than ‘in’ their business, while still generating more profit.

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In our newly released infographic, we look at the important role of standards. The third section of the infographic, titled “Assume standards are understood vs Define quality standards”, explains that owners need to make acceptable standards of the business and their own role, very clear to employees.

The impact is significant; offering explanation, clarification and agreement of performance expectations for employees. In short, they know what’s expected of them and collectively, what you’re all aiming for together.

Some expectations of performance are compulsory standards that are included in employment contracts. These basic standards and job requirements are generally non-negotiable. Then there are less-binding responsibilities such as optional developmental opportunities.

When defining quality standards, keep these points in mind:

  • Agree on standards and KPIs that will give clear points of reference for everyone, and touch points for measuring growth, even when you aren’t physically present.

  • Some of the most important small business KPIs to track are: gross profit margin as a percentage of sales,number of new enquiries, billable time, inventory turnover, and accounts payable turnover.

Employees need help from their manager to meet expectations, although exactly what this looks like will be different for everyone.

Take time to understand people’s different capabilities, ask them what they need help with and take time to offer guidance where needed.

 

Feedback is also essential.

Many people will need feedback daily, while for others, once a week is acceptable. Others can get by with feedback only once a month, but even for the most capable employees, this is minimal at best.

Providing feedback should be a continuous activity rather than sporadic. Remember, getting the best out of people is all about empowering them to do a great job.

It’s important your company operates without you overseeing every job yourself.

Employees aren’t mind readers and simply assuming they know what is expected is a recipe for disaster.

Instead, they need a clear definition of their context within the company, how you’re going to measure them and common goals for the business.

As the saying goes: ‘If you’re not aiming for something, you’re aiming for nothing’.

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