What leads to the success of a small business? In many cases, it’s the employees. Learn successful staff management techniques that enable you to hire, train, delegate and celebrate your staff. As a result, you’ll be able to ensure smooth operations with minimal conflicts.
What Is Staff Management?
Effective staff management means ensuring that your employees succeed every day. When employees do well at work, the business is able to achieve its larger operational and financial goals. Using staff management techniques enables entrepreneurs, business owners and managers to ensure that their subordinates and frontline staff excel in their day-to-day tasks.
There are many areas of staff management, including:
- Selecting the right people for the right full-time or part-time jobs
- Monitoring and evaluating how employees are performing their jobs
- Interacting and communicating with employees regularly about goals and feedback
- Rewarding staff when they succeed
- Disciplining employees when they have made a mistake with big consequences
While many business owners feel that staff management is just about preventing problems or resolving conflicts, that is only one aspect. Staff management includes all aspects of interacting with employees, not just when they are having issues with one another or with management.
1. Hire the Right People
One of the most important aspects of effective staff management is hiring the right people for the right jobs. When recruiting and interviewing employees, it’s important to discern whether they are the right fit for the company as a whole and whether they are right for the job title for which you’re hiring. In some cases, an employee may seem like a good fit with the company culture but may not have the right experience for the role. On the other hand, an employee may check all the boxes with his resume but may not mesh well with the rest of the team.
Whether you work with a recruiter or hire directly, part of hiring the right people is providing them with the training and development opportunities they need in order to excel in their roles. Workshops, courses and apprenticeship programs help employees to learn new skills, which are an asset to the company. Plus, this helps employees feel like the company is investing in them, which can help to increase loyalty and retention rates for the best talent.
In addition, effective staff management means knowing when an employee is not working out. If the employee is not productive or is not aligning with the rest of the team, a strong manager needs to be able to decide how to resolve the situation. This may include moving the employee to a different role, offering productivity tips or letting the employee go.
2. Make Goals Transparent
Human resources best practices include making sure all employees are familiar with the goals of the company. This means having quarterly all-hands meetings with employees to talk to them about the goals for which the company is aiming. Doing so helps employees to learn how their day-to-day tasks fit in with the rest of the company. Similarly, it’s important to establish individual goals for each employee so each has something to work toward.
When communicating company and individual goals, be sure to ask employees for feedback. This means providing them with a forum, such as a one-on-one meeting, where they can offer their insight on how the company is doing and where they may need help meeting their own individual goals. It’s important for employees to have a say in their own performance as well as the performance of the organization. This is a benefit job seekers want to know as well, so be sure to include the company's focus on transparency in the job description.
3. Delegate Roles and Tasks Effectively
Effective staff management means being able to delegate tasks to individual employees and teams. This helps to establish a clear flow of authority so employees understand the organizational structure. It also helps employees to understand what their role is within the larger team. The tasks you delegate not only have to be suited for each role but they also have to align with each employee's skills and abilities.
One of the best ways to help employees grow is to delegate tasks where there is an opportunity for them to learn something new. If time allows, be sure to coach them in the task so they are able to do it independently the next time. Let employees know why they were chosen for the task and go over the results of the task once it is completed to discuss how the employees found the experience.
Being able to delegate, plan, organize and strategize for your staff helps them to learn new skills and to grow as employees. This in turn helps the organization because your employees are able to take on new and advanced tasks on their own. Team members are able to work at maximum efficiency with effective delegation from their manager.
4. Recognize Good Work and Discipline Poor Performance
It’s important for employees to feel valued for their work. One of the best staff management techniques is to recognize employees when they have done a good job. Employee recognition can take many forms in North America, such as merit-based pay rates increases or bonuses. Sometimes, a simple thank-you note with a personal message can make an employee feel appreciated.
The flip side of reward is discipline, and sometimes, employees need to see the consequences of their actions. If an employee has made a mistake, provide an appropriate disciplinary action that helps her learn about her error. Once you feel she has improved her performance, be sure to offer praise so she feels appreciated.
5. Resolve Conflicts as They Arise
Conflict resolution is a way for the parties involved to come to an acceptable agreement, and it's a critical part of workforce management. In the work environment, it’s normal for issues between co-workers or managers to occur. When this happens, it’s best to deal with the problem right away. A manager can act as a mediator to help resolve the conflict between the staff.
In all cases, conflict resolution requires open communication. It’s best for everyone involved to be able to talk about the problems they are facing and the emotions they are experiencing. Resolutions may include coming to a compromise or taking a completely new direction. It’s important for staff to feel that they have been heard by management and that their opinions are valued.
Do not brush conflicts aside or wait days or weeks to address them. Doing so can cause resentment among employees and worsen the situation. Plus, it can make employees feel that their frustration doesn’t matter to the company. Make time to deal with conflicts as soon as you can so employees can get back to being productive.
6. Lead by Example
One of the best ways to manage your staff is to lead by example. This means embodying the traits you want your staff to possess. If it’s important for your business to have honest, reliable and knowledgeable employees, then be sure to exemplify those traits in your performance at work. This is one of the best ways for new employees and veteran status staff to learn how they should behave at work as well.
Part of being a recognized leader in your business is about inspiring your employees to do good work. If you’re able to show them what that looks like on a daily basis, they will be more inclined to follow. If your own performance is lackluster and unproductive, employees may feel they have the leeway to behave that way as well.
Anam Ahmed is a Toronto-based writer and editor with over a decade of experience helping small businesses and entrepreneurs reach new heights. She has experience ghostwriting and editing business books, especially those in the "For Dummies" series, in addition to writing and editing web content for the brand. Anam works as a marketing strategist and copywriter, collaborating with everyone from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, lifestyle bloggers to professional athletes. As a small business owner herself, she is well-versed in what it takes to run and market a small business. Anam earned an M.A. from the University of Toronto and a B.A.H. from Queen's University. Learn more at www.anamahmed.ca.