Employees are the backbone of a business. It is the human element that supports and carries a company towards its goals. As a business owner and manager, the people who work for you should be your most important asset.
Yet, 2 out of 5 Canadians have left a job due to poor management. That means over a third of professionals leave a position because they feel alienated from its leadership. This turnover can cause issues for the business and cost dearly to start the hiring process all over again.
To ensure your workforce is content, you can use various employee management techniques and people management skills to create a positive work environment for everyone.
Why Small Businesses Should Focus on People Management
People management is an essential part of owning a business as you deal with all types of working relationships. As a small business owner, you probably have a core team of employees that work for you, so it’s crucial to manage them using positive reinforcement and open communication.
The staff management tips below can help you foster such a work environment, improve employee relations, and keep your hardworking staff happy within your small business.
1. Set Clear Expectations
One of the biggest parts of managing employees is giving them detailed direction for what is needed and expected of them within the workplace. Providing context for tasks- why they need to get done, the guidelines for doing such tasks, and how such tasks improve the business- helps the employee understand what is needed and why.
Setting clear guidelines and expectations can improve an employee’s work quality and quantity as it provides them a baseline to work off of. When there is a lack of structure or input provided by the supervisor, employees can feel lost and overwhelmed, causing poor execution of the task in front of them.
By giving your staff all of the information they need, you are setting them up for success.
2. Set Goals Together and Work Towards Them
Setting goals is just as important as setting expectations. Discussing the business’s goals and the employee’s career goals can elevate both parties in the process. By understanding your employees’ motivation and what drives them, you can align their goals with the businesses, so everyone is moving towards something.
Knowing your workforce’s aspirations help to build a relationship between management and employees and can also inspire you to tailor your people management skills to support their endeavours.
3. Provide Proper Training
To be a good business owner and retain employees in your business, a thorough onboarding process and training procedure is needed. Such onboarding provides the knowledge and know-how new staff need to hit the ground running in their new position.
Many employees wind up leaving a new position within the first six months of their employment due to lack of training. New hires end their employment because they feel they were not given adequate training and support for their new role.
Creating an in-depth employee training program can go a long way in ensuring your new hires are prepared and excited for their work. Such onboarding also illustrates that you, as their manager, support them and want them to succeed, and they will feel like they are part of the team from the start.
4. Be Communicative as a Small Business Manager
One of the most important staff management techniques to take on board is the ability to foster open communication between everyone. A communicative team is a strong one, improving efficiency and cooperation.
Be clear about what you want but also be open to what the employees want and need. Communication is a two-way street, so it is important to take into account honest employee feedback without getting defensive.
Employee input is always necessary as a team cannot operate when only one person is sharing their opinion and insight. Your workforce will be at their strongest when they know they can share their ideas and thoughts without being reprimanded for it.
5. Always Provide Support
Start by supporting staff with onboarding and training but continue that support throughout their employment. Support can be shown through verbal appreciation for their work, and an understanding ear.
As a business owner and manager, you are responsible for everyone that works for you. It’s not just about how much your employees can produce for your business; it is also about ensuring their wellbeing.
That being said, providing support and guidance is one thing, but too much, and it can become micromanaging. Let your employees know they can come to you if needed, but you should also take a step back and let your team use their experience and skills to get the job done.
6. Show Respect
One of the most intuitive employee management solutions should be about showing respect to your employees. Everyone deserves to be treated with courtesy, no matter what position they hold within a company. Being kind, polite, and a good listener helps to foster a healthy work environment for all involved.
Work can be stressful for everyone at times, but that doesn’t give anyone the right to demand and belittle their subordinates or peers. If someone causes an issue, you can discipline them without being disrespectful. Being disrespectful can also reflect poorly on your business. Your customer base won’t want to patronize a business that lacks consideration for its employees.
Therefore, as a small business manager, always treat your employees how you would like to be treated.
7. Build Trust
There must be trust on both sides for a business to thrive, as both managers and employees should be able to come to each other for assistance, encouragement, and assurance. Promoting trust between all employees and management helps to create an honest and open work environment for everyone.
Supervisors must trust their employees to close up at night, accurately count inventory, process payroll, and many other tasks necessary for a business to function correctly. Employees must also trust their managers, whether that’s in taking on the responsibilities given to them, understanding unforeseen absences and time off, and mitigating issues between staff members.
One of the best practices of small business management is to foster strong working relationships. Being open with employees about why they need to do something and having an open-door policy are all actions a leader can take to build trust between them and their staff.
8. Give Them the Tools to Succeed
Providing staff with the things they need to succeed is a necessary task of being a part of your small business management team. You can’t expect your team to be able to pull off a job without the proper tools, whether that’s equipment, knowledge, or certifications.
Without the correct tools and equipment, your workforce won’t be able to effectively complete the necessary tasks, causing issues for you, them, and the business. This is especially true of jobs that require personal protective equipment, or PPE, to follow all health and safety protocols.
It’s not just the physical resources that can help employees succeed in their positions. Some businesses cover employee education expenses through tuition reimbursement programs[Refresh tuition reimbursement/ investing in employees article]. By paying for the cost of certifications, you can inspire loyalty in your employees, gain skilled and knowledgeable staff, and elevate both your team and your business in the process.
9. Be Genuine with Feedback and Praise
If you possess a workforce, that means you can’t operate your business alone. You rely on your employees to help you push the company’s mission forward. For that reason, your business needs to recognize their efforts and show them they are valued for their input.
Acknowledging staff efforts and showing appreciation for employees through praise and encouragement illustrates that their hard work is admired within the company. Whether offering a big thank you, or constructive criticism, providing genuine feedback shows your workforce their work is recognized and appreciated.
10. Organize Team Building Exercises
People management is all about building relationships between every member of your staff. Team building activities are a fun and exciting way to create and sustain a strong foundation of teamwork while cultivating problem-solving skills and flexibility of your workforce.
Whether introducing new hires to the team with a fun game or reinvigorating current employees, team-building exercises are a great way to foster a sense of camaraderie. Such games give everyone a break from their usual work while simultaneously improving the fundamental skills of a cohesive unit.
11. Use Organizational Behaviour Management
As the name suggests, this management style focuses on the workforce’s behaviour to improve the company’s overall effectiveness. Organizational behaviour management, or OBM, is a technique used by managers that positively reasserts good work behaviour and conditions bad work behaviour into more effective responses within an organization.
Organizational behaviour management uses the above employee management solutions by stressing the use of training programs while fostering open and honest communication between all team members. By reasserting a good work ethic with praise and appreciation and showing constructive criticism, and proper retraining of bad behaviour, managers can stress the importance of specific behaviours to improve employee performance overall.
Improving Your Small Business Management Skills
Therefore, when managing employees, small business owners should remember that their workforce is indispensable. A strong team is the driving force behind a business, and as such, the people who make up this force should be given the respect and appreciation they deserve.
By taking on board these small business management tips, you can create a healthy and positive work environment for everyone involved. However, small business management of employees is just one aspect of running your company. To successfully manage your business finances, cash flow, inventory, payroll, and more, consider using tools like QuickBooks Online to help improve your processes today.