Managing your employees can take up a ton of time. But if you’re good at it, it’s very rewarding. For one, having a well-functioning, effective team is instrumental in helping you run and grow your business. And secondly, being an effective manager means you’re in a position to help mentor your employees — setting them up for future success in whatever they end up doing (hopefully, it’s taking on more at your business).
But management is a skill — and takes a lot of practice and work. It’s about both the bigger picture (like fostering a healthy, supportive work environment) and the day-to-day (like making sure you’re on top of scheduling).
Homebase, TSheets, and When I Work — shift scheduling tools you can now hook up to our Team Management software through Square App Marketplace — are companies that coach businesses every day on how to effectively manage employees. So we tapped them for their top pieces of advice:
Square Team Management
Empower your team and protect your business.
Recruit and hire the best.
It all starts with hiring—specifically, who you hire. Bring people on your team who will fit well culturally. You might find several qualified, smart, and technically savvy candidates, but it’s all about how they fit with your business. Personality, passions, and priorities are all a part of what makes a good team great.
Keep an open communication channel.
Your business might be fast-paced, with information changing hands at warp speed. It’s just as easy for that information to get lost in transmission. You should have easy ways for staff to track and record necessary information, but perhaps most importantly, the lines of communication should be crystal clear. Your employees should feel more than comfortable bringing sensitive information to you when they need to.
Start onboarding your employees before day one.
The onboarding process should happen before a new hire reports for duty. It’s important for you and your business to reduce turnover likelihood. The best way to do that is to prepare current employees as well as new hires prior to their arrival. Add their names and information into your database and other important tools. Give them all the information they need to start the job with enthusiasm and to succeed.
Lead, don’t manage.
Managing a department or team has a lot more to do with leading — fostering connections and direction — than with managing at all. In fact, if you were to ask a current or prospective employee which they prefer — being led or being managed — the answer would be a resounding led. It’s all about inspiring your team to complete tasks and hit goals, and in return, the inspiration continues because everyone is united toward the same goals and end results.
Give your employees access to technology and tools.
Whether you have a whole suite of tech tools or you’re slow to adopt, having access to tech tools simply makes work life easier, which also makes work — and its end result — just that much better. The boost in efficiency from jobs well done tends to boost overall happiness and success in your team as a whole.
Acknowledge employee effort.
At the same time, sometimes you or your team members are going to fall short of a goal. It’s important to acknowledge the effort given, just the same. When you’re focused on the failures, your employees do the same, and overall happiness and productivity lag. But when you acknowledge effort, your team will work even harder to hear some more of that. When you believe in your team, they believe in themselves.
Publish a schedule at least two weeks out.
There’s honestly nothing worse than an employer who:
- Never has the schedule ready on time
- Posts the schedule only to change it multiple times
- Never posts a schedule — at all
While you might have employees who have flexibility, some of your employees might need time to plan for such things as childcare or transportation. Your employees need consistency most of all. The best way to do this is to post schedules two weeks in advance. This gives employees time to plan out their personal schedules around their working schedule. This will help you in the long run, too, as employees will begin asking for their vacation days earlier, helping you plan too!
Be the example.
Maybe most importantly, in order to have great employees who always strive to be better, they need a role model to look up to — that role model is you. To lead your team to greatness, you’ve got to have talent yourself. Never stop investing in your own knowledge. You’ll attract people with great work ethics just by having fantastic work ethics.
Regularly evaluate your staffing levels.
If it isn’t apparent yet, scheduling can be tough. How do you balance your team’s hours so that you’re always in that revered Goldilocks Zone? Not too few employees scheduled, not too many — just right. Begin paying attention to things outside of your business that may affect your scheduling, such as the weather or events going on in your town. Then you can adjust accordingly based on what has worked historically.
Set schedule boundaries that blend flexibility and predictability.
There’s no way to plan the perfect schedule. Availability changes. People can come down with the flu, experience a family emergency, or maybe it’s just a last-minute surprise with tickets to a game or concert. While for most items, you can be accommodating, if some employees are taking advantage of the ability to switch shifts or simply call in sick, it can hurt your entire team. Set — and stick to — a set of rules stating when time-off requests will not be accepted, such as the day of. This can help ensure your entire team plans requests as best as possible and isn’t caught off guard.
Let your employees know that you trust them.
If you couldn’t trust someone, you probably wouldn’t hire them, right? When you don’t show that you trust your employees, it can bring down morale exponentially. Instead, empower your employees — show that you trust them by allowing them greater responsibilities while also enabling them to make their own calls in situations. Not only will this bolster your really exemplary employees, but it will also help you weed out those employees who take advantage of your trust.