Most managers have two major duties: managing departmental functions and managing the workforce. A manager's professional experience, tenure and functional expertise make managing department operations relatively simple; however, some leaders struggle with the responsibility for managing employees. Commonsense solutions to managing employees involve communication, consistency and mutual respect. Effective team management strategies include relationship-building and using leadership skills to create a positive work environment that motivates employees to become members of a fully engaged workforce.
Create a Communication Plan
Develop an employee communication plan. Provide information about business development, organizational changes, personnel transfers and promotions and company performance. If your company is publicly traded, include information about the business from an investor’s standpoint, particularly if your employee benefits plan includes employee stock purchase options.
Managing Employees Requires their Input
Obtain input from employees on a regular basis. Conduct annual employee opinion surveys or post suggestion boxes throughout the workplace. Employees who are encouraged to share their opinions and offer feedback often enjoy better working relationships with peers as well as the management team.
Focus on Continual Improvement
Give employees opportunities to learn new skills or improve current skills. Understanding what employees need and helping them develop their skills is one of the most effective team management strategies. In addition to performance appraisals, solicit feedback on the type of training and development that employees believe will make them successful and productive.
Continually Re-evaluate your Management Skills
Review your staffing model periodically and whenever the company makes significant changes to workforce planning or recruits large numbers of employees. Ensure employees’ qualifications, skills and interests are suitable for their job roles.
Take seriously employees’ suggestions for modifications to their job duties if they are changes that will improve job satisfaction and the company’s productivity levels. Consider employee development, succession planning and career track programs to motivate employees and improve your organization’s employee retention rate. This includes recognizing employees who embody the organization’s philosophy and mission. Provide non-monetary recognition to motivate workers, such as plum assignments, leadership roles and the chance to demonstrate aptitude for higher-level positions.
Review your performance management program and your performance standards. Clarify performance expectations and maintain up-to-date job descriptions. Provide refresher training for supervisors who conduct performance evaluations to ensure they understand the fundamentals of performance management and employee coaching.
Communicate About Employee Performance
Speak up about performance problems when they arise and be honest about issues with employees whose performance fails to meet the company’s expectations. Reward employees whose performance meets or exceeds the company’s expectations. Conduct performance appraisals regularly, but provide informal and continuous employee feedback throughout the evaluation period so employees aren't left to wonder if they are actually performing their jobs the right way.
Update Employee Handbooks Regularly
Maintain current workplace policies in your employee handbook. Distribute revised handbooks to all employees and explain new procedures and policies, as well as the basis for change. Develop an orientation program for new employees to complete before they begin their actual assignments. Give new employees time to adjust to the work environment, processes and colleagues. Enforce workplace policies in a consistent and fair manner for employees at all levels. Make fair employment practices a priority.
Ruth Mayhew has been writing since the mid-1980s, and she has been an HR subject matter expert since 1995. Her work appears in "The Multi-Generational Workforce in the Health Care Industry," and she has been cited in numerous publications, including journals and textbooks that focus on human resources management practices. She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. In addition, she is a certified facilitator for the Center for Creative Leadership Benchmarks 360 Assessment Suite, and is a Logical Operations Modern Classroom Certified Trainer . Ruth resides in North Carolina and works from her office in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.