A Guide to Effective Employee Management
To create a thriving business, you need staff who understand your mission and embrace their role with enthusiasm.
We’ve created this short guide to help you develop a management style that works for your business.
This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, personal, or tax advice. The information contained herein is subject to change and may vary from time to time. For specific advice applicable to your business, please contact a professional.
Whether you’re taking on your first employee or your tenth, knowing how to work with others is key to your success.
Bigger companies normally have a dedicated human resources (HR) department to manage and motivate their employees. Smaller businesses, however, don’t always have access to these resources. This means that you might find yourself having to handle recruitment, team management and employee motivation. The better you handle these, the better the results you will get from your workforce – so where do you start?
What is employee management?
Let’s start with the basics of what employee management entails:
- Recruitment: Finding, interviewing, onboarding and training new hires can be a challenging and time consuming process. Even so, it’s worth taking the time to make sure that you’re matching the right people with the right roles.
Keep in mind that the foundation of most successful relationships is trust, respect and a certain level of shared values. Most skills and processes can be learned on the job with time and training.
Performance management: Measuring performance, collating and communicating customer and team feedback, and setting short-term and long-term goals for your employees, are all essential for a happy workforce that’s pulling in the same direction.
Day-to-day management: Clearly briefing employees on their tasks for the day/week and ensuring they have access to all the resources and tools they need is key to empowering employees to do their jobs effectively.
Motivation and discipline: Recognising employee achievements and encouraging them to meet and surpass their targets is often much more effective than a disciplinarian management style. At the same time, it’s equally important to communicate when standards are not being met. When you do so, be sure to provide actionable feedback on how team members can improve and get back on track.
Facilitating communication and interaction between team members and management: Good communication is the foundation of any strong team. Your employees should feel able to ask questions and discuss operations (within reason!). If you’re hiring the right people, their viewpoint is valuable and should be considered.
Why good employee management is essential for your business
It’s no understatement to say your staff are the backbone of your business. They build your products, provide your service, talk to your customers and take care of your investment. Simply put, effective employee management can be the difference between a mediocre business and an industry leader.
Here are some of the benefits of effective employee management.
1. Improves employee engagement – Maintaining data on personal preferences, performance notes and development objectives empowers you to talk more openly and effectively with your employees. Your team will respond well to a manager that treats them as an individual and be happier to engage with your business strategies.
2. Increases productivity – It’s no secret that happier workers are more productive. By tracking performance and measuring output against different team management strategies, you’ll be better placed to optimise workflows. Does a longer lunch make for a more productive afternoon? Are three staff required on quieter days or do weekend workers need more support? By collecting evidence to show your team, you can find efficiencies that everyone is onboard with.
3. Reduces employee churn and recruitment costs and helps attract top talent – Happy and engaged staff contribute to a positive employer brand. This makes your business more attractive in the job market. Plus, happy employees are less likely to leave. Keeping staff for as long as possible means less time is spent training new recruits. This means that customers have access to a team with more experience. Furthermore, when the time comes there will be internal candidates for management roles. This can make it much easier for you to scale your business.
Combined, these three benefits will help you build a happier workforce. This will ultimately positively impact your bottom line and help you achieve your company goals.
How to manage your staff
There isn’t a one-size-fits all approach to employee management. Different teams in different workplaces, producing different products and services, all operate in different ways. That being said, there are some universal truths that should form the basis of your management style.
1. Hire the right people
Great staff management begins with finding the right person for the role, but it goes far beyond that. Your baseline is a candidate who fits the job description and has the right qualifications. Ideally, you want to find someone who not only understands your company culture and goals but fits in seamlessly. Consider looking for:
Ability to work in a team
Honesty and a strong work ethic
Responsiveness to suggestions, criticisms and praise
Create an HR recruitment process to follow each time you make a new hire, to ensure the same qualities are considered whatever position you’re filling.
2. Implement training and development
Regular staff training helps you identify growth areas and provides a chance to plug any skill gaps. Employees who receive training feel valued. This helps to increase productivity and hence to grow your business.
3. Use employee management software
Good employee management software lets you roster staff, set permissions, schedule time off and keep track of hours all in one place. It streamlines the process of managing staff expectations around shifts and holiday bookings.
Cloud-based HR software can also make it far easier to keep your staff’s personal details, professional development record, disciplinary matters and holiday entitlement all in one place.
4. Promote open communication
Do your staff look forward to seeing you or do they cower in your wake? Don’t be the manager everyone avoids; instead try to foster great communication.
Get to know your team members on a personal level which allows you to understand them better and makes them feel noticed.
Give them clear ways to communicate, especially if they’re bringing a problem to your attention. Try to see situations from their point of view.
Respect their privacy when they need to speak to you.
Do your best to resolve conflicts rather than escalate them.
5. Set the example from the top down
How you behave in the workplace has a trickle-down effect throughout your entire company. This means that it’s up to you to foster a positive culture. If you’re respectful and hardworking, then it’s more likely that your team will be too. If you turn up late, slack off or simply can’t be bothered to give them the time of day, then you’ll send out a message that it’s okay for them to do the same.
6. Regularly monitor staff performance
Performance management is important for both you and for your team. It allows you to check people are hitting targets and meeting company standards. It can also flag up areas which need attention. For your employees it sets clear expectations.
However, there’s a fine line between offering a guiding hand and micromanaging people. No one likes someone monitoring their every step, and too much of anything can be a bad thing – too much praise and they may get overconfident, too little and they may feel undervalued.
7. Don’t adopt an all-in-one management style
You can label your management style in a myriad of ways – authoritative, collaborative, persuasive, laissez-faire – but the bottom line is whatever style you use, it won’t be right for everyone. What works well for one person may be a disaster for another. Try to be flexible in your approach to different employees while maintaining and adhering to consistent, company-wide policies.
8. Implement a rewards system
People love to be recognised for things they do well, so make it an intrinsic part of your employee management. Whether it’s verbal recognition, a small gift or an employee of the month award, it makes them feel valued. It also demonstrates to the rest of your staff that hard work is rewarded. This means it can also motivate staff and create a more positive workplace culture.
9. Encourage staff opinions and ideas
One of the best ways to empower your staff is to listen and let them know their opinions matter. Knowing they’re actively involved in growing your business is a powerful motivator.
10. Set clear, recognisable goals
Part of being a good manager involves setting goals your employees can understand. Work out your business needs in terms of sales, for example, and what you need to do to get there. Use the SMART acronym to make sure your goals are:
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Relevant
T – Time-based
11. Foster a good work-life balance
Lastly, whilst you want your staff to work hard, good management means keeping a sensible work-life balance in place. Rest is as important as hard work, and time off can actually mean they come back more productive.
People work harder for you and your business if they know you’re invested in them. If you create a workplace where their talents are fostered, they understand your goals and they are valued, it reaps dividends down the line.
Useful resources to help you manage your employees
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