The effective management of employees can be a difficult challenge for small business owners. Not only do they have to oversee personnel, but it’s also their job to make key business decisions and devise new business strategies.
Managing employees, all with different personalities, as well as being responsible for HR, software tools and office equipment, can pose a real headache. In this article, we offer some tips to help you (or your office manager) to manage your employees effectively.
- Develop good communication skills
It’s vital that you communicate effectively with your employees. You need to be able to lead meetings and inspire people. Learn to listen not only to the words being spoken but how they’re spoken – if, at the same time, you can decipher the non-verbal messages being sent by employees, all the better. Sympathise and have genuine empathy with other people’s problems and misfortunes.
Be quick to praise good work and ask for the opinions of others. ‘How would you design the shelving system?’ or ‘Why do you think this is a good way to solve the problem?’ Asking employees for their opinion is a great way to make them feel appreciated.
Representing your company at public events and functions means you need to develop good public speaking skills. Attend as many networking events as you can and speak to groups of people every chance you get.
- Delegate wisely
It’s vital to delegate effectively. Delegating skills are crucial to a happy and productive workforce and it frees you up for other tasks. You don’t have to control everything an employee does, and you shouldn’t be looking over shoulders, telling people how to do their jobs. By delegating properly, more work is accomplished and employees develop more confidence and work skills.
- Employee management software
You might want to invest in some employee management software – for instance, such as breatheHR. This is a cloud HR software solution that has an online HR package plus an employee holiday planner and an appraisal management system. In addition, it gives you instant access to all employee information. You’d be silly not to use some hi-tech help.
- Develop your people management skills
The art of managing people is a difficult one and can take years to perfect. It’s very different from managing projects or tasks and you need a lot of patience and understanding. If you’re good at reading personality types and how they affect the way people work and communicate, this will stand you in good stead.
Each day, try to learn something new about each person you interact with and use this information to better your own communication skills. Interaction helps build good relationships and through it you’ll gain a better understanding of each person’s unique abilities and work contribution.
- Set goals
If employees don’t have goals they can’t work effectively since they have nothing to strive for. Not only do goals give individual employees a personal direction and purpose, they also ensure that the company’s overall goals are achieved.
Goals must be specific and measurable (it’s a good idea if they’re visible too – for instance in chart form on the wall). Goals should be regularly monitored and, if needed, revised from time to time. Employees are motivated by and get a big kick out of goals, but get an even bigger kick when they achieve them.
- Don’t be too serious
Yes, running a company is a serious business. Products and services must be sold, customers looked after, and profits made. But despite all the serious stuff, your company should be a fun place to work too. Employees should want to come to work and enjoy the challenge of their specific job. So, loosen up and relax a little.
Try to make the office environment a ‘cool’ place to work. Instead of dark and dull, brighten the place up – get your marketing team to dream up some ways to make the offices look cheerful and inviting. Colourful posters on the wall, a creche, a gym, a coffee bar, employee competitions – a weekend away if a target is met – that kind of thing. Then, instead of employees calling in sick, or arriving for work late, or leaving early, they’ll be more loyal and motivated … and productive!
- Forget quick-fire, find lasting solutions
When there’s a problem, we’re always good at finding a quick solution. The trouble is that in our eagerness to fix a problem right now so we can move on to the next fire, we don’t find a lasting solution. So, the next time a real problem flares up, deal with the cause instead of just treating the symptoms.