“Big data” and “performance metrics” have been trending buzzwords for business owners. Having access to more information allows leaders to set company goals that lead to real results. But as a small cannabis business owner, understanding how to use the data can be overwhelming.

By looking at data, you can make better decisions that make your cannabis business more successful. For example, a recent survey by TLNT reported that 6 out of 10 millennials frequently feel their manager is unprepared to give feedback. Imagine having real numbers to help drive your conversations with employees?

Results-oriented workplaces have improved employee engagement, retention, and performance.   More importantly, it will help you create a work environment that excites and motivates employees. Here’s what you need to know to set results-oriented goals that will improve your company:

What makes a good goal

Often, when small business owners start setting organizational goals, they are overly vague, immeasurable, or lack a timeline. For example, improving customer service is a worthwhile ambition. But without quality, quantitative, and time-based details, it’s difficult to track progress or know what true success looks like.

Vague goals are open to interpretation. Everyone on the team starts with different expectations. Think about the idea of improving customer service. Your budtenders who work the cash register or help customers make product decisions might try to receive fewer complaints to reach the goal. Meanwhile, employees responsible for stocking or tracking inventory might feel they can’t contribute since they don’t directly work with customers.

Companies with low engagement scores can earn an operating income 32.7% lower than companies with more engaged employees (AON Hewitt).

Because this goal is not specific, it automatically disengages a part of your team. Have clear actions that tie each employee to the goal. For example, your sales team can work to lower customer complaints by 10 percent within three months. At the same time, employees who work in the back of the house can ensure products are in stock at least 90 percent of the time so customers can easily find what they want. Having clear, trackable goals that relate to each employee makes it more likely your team will succeed.

Understanding KPIs

Every goal needs a purpose. It gives meaning to your team’s hard work and dedication to achieving a goal. This is where Key Performance Indicators — or KPIs — come in. KPIs are ways you can measure what is going on in your organization and if things are moving in a positive direction.

Here are some examples of KPIs you might want to consider tracking:

  • Employee satisfaction
  • Revenue per employee
  • Customer acquisition cost
  • Customer or employee net promoter score (how likely customers or employees are to recommend your business to others)
  • Employee retention rates

With each goal you set, you need to decide what type of KPI will show how the team is progressing. You don’t have to track every imaginable KPI. It’s more important to choose a few that align your goals with business results.

Look back at the goal to improve customer service. Tracking your customer Net Promoter Scores through satisfaction surveys will give you a clear idea of where you stand. Be sure to report on these results and adjust your metric goals frequently.

Communicating goals

Good communication is crucial for results-oriented workplaces. Clearly explain each goal to your team and keep them in-the-loop with progress. When you have part-time and full-time employees or have high turnover, communication might seem impossible. But it’s a step that can’t be skipped.

Find a communication system that works for your organization. Many leaders like to hold a quick meeting at the beginning of employees’ shifts. Others find phone calls or emails work better. Talk with your team to find out how they want to receive important information about the company’s goals.

Once you’ve chosen your communication method, address two aspects of results-oriented goals. First, explain why the goal is important for the organization. Tell employees what results you expect to see and how that will lead to success.

Secondly, show each individual how the goal impacts them. Layout what expectations you have for each role and how they will contribute to results. Also, talk about how achieving the goal will improve the workplace for employees. For example, if your team is able to increase profits by a certain percentage, let them know it will lead to raises or better employee benefits. This will help motivate employees and give their jobs more meaning.

Conducting monthly check-ins

Whenever a goal is set, there will be unforeseen obstacles. As a leader, you will only learn about these issues if you check-in with your team. By setting aside time for formal and informal conversations about progress, you can analyze the situation and help get employees back on track.

For example, talk with your employees about their day when there’s a break in business. Ask them what is making their job more difficult. Remember, the point of these check-ins is to help employees succeed. They shouldn’t feel like you’re looking for a reason to punish them for not hitting a goal. Instead, offer them help and remind them how valuable their work is.

Rewarding goals

After a goal is met, leaders need to show employees they appreciate all their hard work. But when rewarding employees, it’s important that the recognition is timely. Yes, it’s important to celebrate as a team once a big goal has been reached. However, you can’t forget to appreciate accomplishments throughout the process.

Set up incremental milestones as your team works towards its goal. As employees reach each one, reward them promptly. This will show them that you see and value their hard work.

Make sure that the rewards are consistent for all employees, but also meaningful. Don’t think your options are limited if you’re working with a limited budget. Consider some of the following rewards:

  • An extra day off for the first employee to reach a milestone
  • The ability to choose which shifts you work for one week
  • A gift basket of company products

Becoming a results-oriented workplace requires a change of mindset. As a leader, you need to rethink how you approach the daily operations. By having clear expectations and valuing the contributions of your people, you’ll have a motivated and prosperous team.