Delegation of responsibilities to low skilled workers

Delegation of responsibilities to low skilled workers

Most employees in a small business, especially in a local store setting, do not have extensive specialized training or years of experience.  These types of employees comprise the “low skilled” work force.  It’s important to understand that “low skilled” does not mean “low character.”

As a small business owner, your interview and selection process must reflect this understanding.  You are looking for honest, hard working employees who have displayed a drive and determination to do well at whatever task they find.  Don’t fall into the “I can’t find any good people for $9.00 per hour” trap.  You can’t find any rocket scientists for $9.00 per hour, but you can find some good people who simply don’t have the skills for a higher paying job yet.

Set the stage during the hiring process.  Let them know that your goal is to help them develop new skills, which means you will be investing a lot of time and energy into their growth.  Inform them that although this is a low paying job, you do expect at least a one year commitment from them so that you can see growth.  Make sure you reward their growth with consistent reviews and pay raises.

Longevity in a low skilled job is undervalued in the market place.  A fast food worker with 6 months experience is probably 30% more valuable to the owner than a new person.  He or she should be paid and given responsibility accordingly.  New employees will learn early if you reward longevity, and they will do the same.

Every responsibility is an opportunity for growth.  Delegate in order to grow your people.  A great pastor once said, “I will not use my people to build my work; I will use my work to build my people.”  Always be thinking about how you could teach someone on your team to take over part or all of every task.  Even a seemingly complex task if broken down into action steps, could often be delegated to someone on your team.  With the proper training, you might only need to step in for as little as 20% of the task.

Train your people, then train some more!  Delegation is not a decision; it is a process.  Identify what you need accomplished; complete this task several times with the employee at your side; then stay by his side while he or she completes it a few times.  Although you may sometimes get very frustrated because the task seems simple to you, it is new to your employee.  The employee needs training to gain confidence.

Create a system of delegation.  There are many tasks in your business that should be on auto-pilot.  You don’t need to be spending time thinking about who should clean the windows or when that should be done.  Figure out how often certain tasks need to be done; make sure at least two people know how to complete the tasks; then schedule them on the calendar to be done automatically.  Have them on a computer generated task list so you can go over them in a weekly meeting to ensure that someone completed them.  Better yet, give the employees access to a shared calendar (you could use Podio or Google Calendar) and have them check these tasks off as they complete them.

What are some other ways you have found to effectively delegate to and develop low-skill workers?  I look forward to some good tips in the comments section.

Have a great day!

James Shepherd

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