A small business cannot tolerate the “It’s not my job” attitude, and if a business owner lets this attitude take root, it’s hard to get rid of. That’s why it’s important to set clear limitations right away and make it clear that your business cannot and will not tolerate employees who complain about doing their share or cross-departmental work.
Small business employees often find themselves wearing many different hats. It’s important for workers to understand helping others and occasionally taking on tasks that cross with other departments is simply part of the job description.
Why do small business employees need to wear so many hats?
As a small business grows, more employees will be hired. In most cases, employees will have to learn how to do many different jobs. A small retail store manager may teach the new floor associate how to run the cash register in case she needs to run an errand or is busy in the back office. Employees may answer phones, solve problems and clean the kitchen area in a small business – functions that may not have been detailed in the actual job description.
Small companies experience these scenarios more often because there are fewer employees overall, meaning each employee will have to do another’s duty every now and then to keep things running smoothly.
In turn, each new position will cause more demand for a human resource department to be developed. While you may own the company, do you have experience in writing employee handbooks or handling workplace conflict?
When the attitude makes an appearance
If you’re experiencing issues with employees complaining about tasks or work they’ve been assigned, you should act immediately to get back on course. Hold a short meeting with your staff (or a video chat if you’re a distributed team) and remind them of the fluid nature of their role with your company.
Make a point to say that cross-departmental work will sometimes be a necessity to keep the business running strong, and that you’re counting on your staff to be able to adapt seamlessly to those roles. Hold a few training sessions if needed to better prepare those that feel under-qualified or experienced.
In any case, don’t tolerate the “It’s not my job” attitude in your business. It’s a dangerous mindset that can spread like wildfire through even a dedicated team if you’re not mindful.