Hi before we get started on Employee Success Plans I wanted to take a minute to re-introduce myself. My name is Terry Rossi and I am the co-founder of an award-winning Company (I always wanted to say that, in the 23 years we have been in business I never have). We are a company with two halves. We develop, sell and implement an enterprise document management solution to manufacturers all over the world and we are an MSP, we provide outsourced IT services to companies in the New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York City area.
I started this podcast about one year ago, this week I think, as a way to help others that are either just starting out, or stuck crossing the chasm in growing or scaling their company. My business partner and I have weathered many storms since we started and through it all we have always been profitable, we have always been able to pay our people.
We’ve done a lot of things right but we’ve also made a lot of mistakes. It’s from those mistakes I hope you can learn something that you can bring back to your business. Something that will help you, build, grow or scale your business.
About PICS ITech
Our MSP, PICS Itech, is HQ’ed in Mt. Holly NJ in a building that we own. At this time we are employing just under 30 people and we have many employees that have surpassed 10, even 20 years with the company. I am proud of that fact, and it is sound like I bragging, I might be a little but really I am trying to impress on you that you can grow and scale your business and compete with the best in the world. We are currently working in over 17 countries for some of the largest company names in the world and we are a small little technology company in the suburbs of Philadelphia.
My role in the company is basically to head up the MSP division and act as the COO for the company. I have my hands in everything from IT, service delivery, marketing, sales, finance, vendor relations, and unclogging the sink when it needs it.
If this is your first time listening to the IT Provider Network podcast, thank you for tuning in. The podcast is the first part of the IT Provider Network. Later this year I will be announcing some exciting community and collaborations announcements, online courses that I am working on and other in-depth ways the IT Provider Network can help you. I have several coaching clients now but my schedule is such that I won’t be able to work with all of you one-on-one so figuring out some group offerings is high on my list.
So without Further ado, here’s episode 29 of the IT Provider Network Podcast.
Employee Success Plans
As you know in our company we do a lot of planning and goal setting. Each year we sit down in Q4 and plan the annual initiatives for the next year. We plan these at the company level but as soon as we have decided on what the company is going to focus on for the next 12 months we immediately start to break those initiatives down to smaller more manageable chunks.
How we do it is that we break them down by division. If you remember we have two distinct divisions on our company, a software development division that sells a product to manufacturers worldwide and a managed services division that provides outsourced IT services in our regional area. So we start by breaking down the initiatives by division. Then by quarter. We have found that 90 days is the right amount of time to get our “rocks” or goals down.
What I want to talk to you today is how we break these rocks down to each and every employee that works at PICS. We do this with something we call our Employee Success Plans or ESP’s.
Manage To Win
The concept of an ESP was part of a hiring system I purchased from a great leadership coach named David Russell. Many of you probably know David, he is at a lot of the industry trade shows and also has a podcast called NO BAD BOSSES where he interviews business leaders but David’s bread and butter is from his 3 Strand Leadership program where he teaches managers to be effective leaders. We have sent about 5 of our managers through the 6 month program and it has really helped us get everyone on the same page as well as grow our newer managers into great leaders. If you are interested in improving your team then suggest you check out David’s offerings at managetowin.com
Back to the ESP or Employee Strategic Plan as David calls it. We don’t use that name, we prefer Employee Success Plan because the main goal is to help an employee be successful in our company.
It helps do this by providing a document with a well-defined set of expectations that both the manager and the employee have agreed upon. The document has sections for:
- Duties and Responsibilities
- Time Allocation
- and others.
David Russel has a system called Hire the Best which includes training, sample ESP’s and phone and sample interview questions. In the kit David specifically requests that the details of the plans aren’t shared outside the company so for that reason I cannot go much more detail on the ESP’s. I will tell you that the secret of their success is that they are a collaboration between the employee and the manager. The employee is totally bought into the ESP and what he can expect as well as what the manager expects of him.
Align the Goals
In our Employee Success Plans we take special care to make sure the goals listed on the ESP support the department goals, division goals and ultimately the company’s goals. This way we have a whole company driving towards the same goals.
Once we have our ESP’s defined for each employee in the company, we need a rhythm to gauge performance and keep the documents in line with the company’s direction. The goals of the ESP are directed to the annual initiatives and not so much on the tactical quarterly rocks. Changing them quarterly would be too much of a burden on the managers.
We do, however, meet with the employees at least bi-weekly for an ESP meeting. This is really a one-to-one coaching meeting with the employee. We loosely follow the flow of the ESP and work to help employees become more successful in the areas they are struggling. As I talked about in Episode 28 of the IT Provider Network Podcast, Taking a Good Look at Your Team, the ESP’s coupled with ABC talent ranking helps us fail fast if we have a bad hire. It also puts a process in place where the employee is not caught off guard thinking he is doing a good job. He is meeting with his direct supervisor one-on-one at least every two weeks to discuss his performance, goal achievement, and career.
So give ESP’s a try in your company. If you want to jump-start the work, consider purchasing Hire the Best from David Russell at ManagedToWin.com. As of today, the cost is around a thousand dollars which sounds expensive but it is peanuts compared to the cost of a bad hire.
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