They’re the people in the trenches with you, the ones facing the customer, completing the tasks and putting a face to your business name. Staff can make or break a business, but the truth is in most instances your management technique can make or break them.
Here are five tips for setting up great staff dynamics and bringing them along for your business ride.
Clear position descriptions
From the moment you consider taking on a new staff member your focus should be clear communication. This starts in the form of written position descriptions so a potential employee knows exactly what their role entails. Position descriptions include responsibilities, entitlements and who they are answerable to. This sets up a dynamic of professionalism and clarity, and is a document that can be referred to when required.
At the outset, training, including induction programs, should be part of your management process. Comprehensive initial and ongoing training allows a business owner to establish their preferred operating methods and arm staff with the tools to do their job. More than that, it indicates an investment in staff that makes them feel valued.
Policies and procedures
Supporting any training should be documents that outline how the business operates in the form of policies and procedures. These “how-to” guides for the day-to-day running of a business give a big-picture perspective of who’s responsible for what tasks, what to do when things don’t go to plan, and establish the ethos of a business.
A copy should be provided to staff when they commence employment, and be readily available in the office. Policies and procedures should also be regularly updated and staff should be educated about their contents.
Reviews and feedback
One of the best ways to have staff feel accountable and valued is through regular feedback and reviews. Verbal feedback should be timely, clear, concise, calm, sincere and relevant.
And it’s not a one-way street. By encouraging your staff to provide feedback to you with an open door communication policy, you enable them to air their feelings, solve problems and enjoy being a valued contributor.
Formal reviews like performance appraisals should be undertaken at least one a year with reference to the position description and any further criteria you have established. As a manager, take the time to write specific notes and plan what you have to say in advance. This is also a good opportunity to ask an employee what they would like to achieve in your business in the future.
Rewards, such as annual bonuses or gifts that recognise a job well done, go a long way to expressing your appreciation for a team or staff member who has consistently lived up to or exceeded your expectations. Something as simple as a little extra in the pay packet after a time-consuming product launch make your staff feel valued and appreciated, fostering good morale.
The final word
Your staff are the backbone of your business and the key to good management is providing a workplace that sees that backbone strong, loyal and well taken care of.