I’ve found that a wonderful word to live by is upod. An acronym for “under promise over deliver” it is a technique that many restaurant owners should adapt with their employees when it comes to painting the rosiest picture on the planet.
We have all done it – promised points, stock, and profit sharing in a new venture to employees who might otherwise have opted for positions with more stable organizations – only to find after time that the company they work for has fizzled, financially.
I recently received an email from an employee of a well known food establishment that s currently facing financial crisis. She explained she is having difficulty getting her money out of the company’s 401K account. The owners, laden with insurmountable debt have skidoodled, leaving the responsibility of cleaning up the mess they made to someone else.
She claimed the problem gets worse since the new owners did an under-the-table, end run, fake forward pass kind-of scheme to burn old employees and vendors.
The new owners have shrugged their shoulders and claimed they are not responsible for past commitments.
But, where does this leave the nice person with her 401K bucks tied up? Probably hanging out to dry with a handful of other employees and a few bushels full of vendors.
Owners should take heed of what they promise to employees. Vision and dreams are wonderful things to share. However, when you place a monetary value on a dream it is a very slippery slope to navigate.
Stock options, employee profit sharing, and 401K matching funds programs are a tremendous incentive for employees. However, if nothing goes well and the company can’t keep their financial commitments, what once was used as an incentive program became a morale breaker.
When opening a new restaurant, or taking over a business you are unfamiliar with, test the waters before making promises to employees. Rather than make a commitment for shared profits, focus on making them first, once you have a proven track record, sharing the profits will be easier than telling everyone they’ve invested their time in a company that is going nowhere.
When you get that urge to promise employees the sky, before you have a rocket ship openng, think of upod. Sketch out the picture of what may happen if you are successful. And, let them know it will take a lot of work, struggle, and committment to launch a great success. And then begin sharing the benefits. Not before.