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How to manage workers in a small business

Engineer training apprentices [Courtesy]

Employees, not customers, are the backbone of any successful business. Yet many business owners and managers treat employees like mere disposable and replaceable cogs in the business machinery.

It’s employees who build your products, provide services to customers, interact with clients and customers and devote their time and energy to bring your business vision and mission to life.

If you have poor employee management skills, your employees will be uninspired and unproductive. You might also suffer a high employee turnover which is costly for any business. Two out of five employees leave their jobs due to poor management.

However, with good employee management skills, you can turn employees into collaborators who share your vision and will do anything to help the company succeed.

To ensure that your team is satisfied and performing like a well-oiled machine, here are some simple yet powerful employee management tips:

Set clear expectations

One of the most important aspects of staff management is providing precise instructions on what is required and expected of them in their roles. Providing context for tasks, why they need to be completed, how to complete them and how they benefit the company helps your team understand what is required of them and why.

Setting clear goals and guidelines can help workers improve the quality and quantity of their work by giving them a benchmark to work from.

Employees may feel lost and confused if the supervisor fails to give structure or input, resulting in poor implementation of the project at hand. By providing your employees with all of the knowledge they require, you are ensuring their success.

Provide proper orientation and training

A thorough orientation process and training procedure are essential to managing and retaining staff. A proper onboarding process provides new employees with the knowledge and skills they need to get started in their new roles right away.

Surveys have shown that many workers leave their jobs within the first six months due to a lack of training. New hires may quit because they don’t feel they were given enough training and support for their new job.

Developing a comprehensive employee training programme can go a long way towards ensuring that your new workers are well-prepared and enthusiastic about their jobs.

This type of onboarding also shows that you, as their boss, care about them and want them to succeed in their roles.

Communicate openly

Many small business owners are too secretive about their business dealings, even towards their valued employees. But if you want your employees to feel like part of the company, you have to practice more openness.

When you work for a small business, you’re more likely to work in close quarters than when you work for a huge corporation. This means that the level of communication you have with your staff is critical to your company’s success and they should feel free to speak openly and honestly with you.

Set a good example by being open and transparent about business dealings, what’s coming up in the company and any issues that may arise that may directly affect them.

Adopting a daily or weekly catch-up with your team is a good way to do this. Get your staff acclimatised to a regular meeting when the day’s or week’s business is discussed and anyone can raise any concerns they have.

Become a life coach

A good business leader has to take the role of a life coach when it comes to their team, inspiring each member to achieve personal success. By taking the time to learn each employee’s goals and aspirations, you can assign them tasks that align and boost your team’s morale and productivity.

Just think about it, while a soccer team might be alright without a coach, it’s a determined, caring and passionate coach who guides them to victory. You are the coach when it comes to your business and its employees. When you start seeing yourself a coach rather than the boss, it also takes away the negative connections that create a gap between employers and employees.

Having open dialogue, advising and sharing real-life experiences are all arsenals that coaches use to encourage, teach and motivate their team. That said, it’s important to avoid prying into employees’ personal lives. Focus on helping them with their career goals – when you’re supportive of employees’ professional lives, their personal circumstances will also improve.

Provide necessary tools for success

As a business leader, you must ensure that your team has all it needs to succeed. Without the necessary tools, whether it’s training, equipment or certifications, you can’t expect your staff to complete a job efficiently. Tools may include computers, comfortable desks, software, protective equipment and office supplies.

On top of providing physical resources, other resources include giving them enough time to rest, having employee medical insurance and helping them advance their education or training.

Set performance reviews

Performance reviews are very important when it comes to effective employee management. While many employers and employees dread them, they help you assess and improve employee’s ongoing performance. They provide opportunity to speak candidly about the work produced, find solutions to arising issues, and listen to feedback from employees.

Since most people don’t like performance evaluations, they feel that an annual review is adequate. However, the most effective time frame for performance reviews is every three months. This regularity will help you address issues swiftly.

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