Employees

The terms employee and team member have become almost interchangeable in recent years. But it’s important to understand the real difference between the two words because it’s more than just terminology. A team reflects one kind of company culture — accountable, engaged and goal-oriented — and an employee/employer relationship represents another kind — transactional and Read more

The terms employee and team member have become almost interchangeable in recent years. But it’s important to understand the real difference between the two words because it’s more than just terminology.

A team reflects one kind of company culture — accountable, engaged and goal-oriented — and an employee/employer relationship represents another kind — transactional and uninspired. One of these cultures supports growth and innovation; the other leads to mediocre results and stagnation.

Which one describes your company?

Employees vs. team members

The difference between an employee and team member is subtle. But it’s a crucial distinction and essential knowledge for leaders in the skilled trade industries, where acute labor shortages keep recruiting and retention intensely competitive.

Employees

  • Go to work for a paycheck.
  • Do exactly what’s expected of them — but no more.
  • Don’t invest their own ideas or initiative.
  • Won’t positively reinforce your brand outside of work.
  • Likely to frequently leave one job for another.
  • Overlook details and lack accountability which can lead to major oversights.

Team members

  • Recognize they are part of something bigger than themselves.
  • Get paid to do what they’re passionate about.
  • Foster new ideas and drive innovation.
  • Serve as ambassadors for your brand with customers, friends and family.
  • Create institutional continuity and act as positive role models for other team members.
  • Work together toward a single goal and usually get more done in less time with fewer mistakes.

It doesn’t take long for the differences to add up. The costs to your company come in many forms, with rollbacks, dissatisfied customers, damaged reputation and missed opportunities among them. When an employee leaves your company for a $1 an hour raise across town, you’re left with the cost of hiring and training their replacement.

Building your team

When it comes to recruiting and developing team members vs. employees, it isn’t as simple as just switching out one job title for another. Team members need a team. It’s up to you to build your company with a solid mission that gives prospective team members reasons to join and stick with you. Here are some key concepts to incorporate at your company in building and transforming your team:

  • Communication: This goes both ways. Keep lines of dialogue open so team members can share their ideas. It’s also important to communicate clearly with team members so they know what’s expected and what goals they’re working toward.
  • Celebration: From a quick shout-out when you see small things done the right way to bonus pay, don’t let superior performance go unrecognized. Build in big incentives for motivation, take time for regular call-outs and encourage team members to cheer each other on.
  • Culture: Don’t let “team” be a buzzword at your company. The people who work there know the difference, no matter what you call it. When they feel valued at work it gets passed on to customers. When they don’t feel valued, that’s passed on, too. Create an authentic team concept by intentionally investing in your team and the resources they need for success.

Put it all together

Teamwork is no longer an option for contractors. With the emergence of Generation Z and the deep economic impact of COVID-19 paired with other supply chain and labor issues, a passion and dedication for team culture is required for success in home services.

A real team is built on vision, values and mission. If you’re committed to living all those every day and being accountable, the people around you recognize it. Talk to your team, encourage them to buy in and you’ll see the difference.

Chris Koch is Head Coach and Trainer for Business Development Resources – the premier provider of business training and coaching to home service contractors across North America.

 

We get it. Starting a business can feel overwhelming. Starting a brick-and-mortar business can feel even frightening. There are so many pieces to put in place, and if you drop the ball on even one of them, your entire business could be in jeopardy. That’s why we took the time to create this short checklist Read more

We get it. Starting a business can feel overwhelming. Starting a brick-and-mortar business can feel even frightening. There are so many pieces to put in place, and if you drop the ball on even one of them, your entire business could be in jeopardy. That’s why we took the time to create this short checklist for starting a new business. It will help you avoid many of the common mistakes people make when they get started and understand what you need to do every day to ensure your start-up stays afloat.

1. Register Your Business with the IRS

Once you know what type of business you’re creating and what product or service you will offer, you need to register your business name. Whether you do that as an LLC or a corporation, you must take this first step as early as possible. An LLC is the easiest and the most cost-effective way to register your small business through your state.

After securing your LLC, you’ll need to register with the IRS. It will generate your EIN or your federal tax ID number. For retail stores, you also need to obtain a sales license. Having an EIN will allow you to open a business bank account. Experts suggest going through a credit union, as they don’t require you to have large minimum balances on your account like other banks. 

2. Hire a Bookkeeper

As a new business owner, you must track all your business expenses and money flow. It is essential for your taxes because you don’t want to lose money when tax season arrives. You can use software like QuickBooks for tracking. However, you should still try to find a qualified bookkeeper to keep your books in order. You will be busy running your business and bringing in customers, so you won’t have time to dedicate this task individually; after all, the last thing you want is the IRS investigating you. 

3. Seek Out a Good Location 

You can lease or buy commercial space. Leasing gives you the flexibility to move if you outgrow the area or need to expand. Plus, it gives you the benefit of a management company that will handle the tricky stuff like scheduling repairs. If you decide to purchase the space for your business, you must ensure that you have the right equipment and hire reputable contractors to maintain your store or a restaurant. 

For example, a plumbing failure can become an immediate disaster at a restaurant, cafe, hotel, or healthcare facility. Experienced business owners know all too well how important it is to have a professional plumber on call. So, finding a commercial plumbing distributor will help you clear the way for smooth business operations.

4. Build a Website

Your physical location is one of the brand activation points. However, these days, the customer journey most of the time starts online. To ensure prospects can find your business, you must optimize your website for the local search. Even if it’s just a landing page at first, it helps you look professional and build trust with your clients before they visit your physical location. You can use simple website builders like Wix or Squarespace when starting to save some costs on hiring a web designer.

5. Hire Staff 

Of course, you’ll need to hire staff before you open your doors. In some cases, you may be able to work independently. Before hiring, study the employment-related laws in your state, including the maximum working hours per week, the minimum wage, and what benefits you need to provide your employees. Once you’ve made your hires, ensure that you report these employees to your state within 20 days. 

Get Ready to Open Your Doors

Now you’re ready to open your doors! Your supplies are prepared, your staff knows what to do, and your potential customers started exploring your website. It took some work to get to this point, but you are finally running your new business!