Your employees are your most valuable asset, and the engine of your business. The ability to manage them well is one critical issue that you will have to tackle headlong throughout the lifetime of your company. If you do a good job at it, then these employees will most likely be your ladder to building a thriving business.
Amongst others, here are five tips on how to get the best from your employees:
1. Non-stop Communication and Feedback
A productive workplace is hinged on openness and a sincere communication system that connects both employer and employee. You start this by explaining to your staff about the company's vision, goals and strategies to achieving them. This should be clearly written in your staff handbook with other rules guiding the company. Subsequently you need to let them know how they fit into the 'big picture' in terms of the relevance and importance of their contributory skills and competencies.
Positive feedback on the other hand will strengthen their engagement and encourage them to do more. This is not to say that negative ones aren't welcome; the not so good ones should be expressed sensitively focusing on areas of improvement in the staff and not just on vague complaints.
2. Empower your Employees
This is one of the most effective strategies to attracting and retaining good employees. It's a three-pronged approach that focuses on training, support and motivation.
When you train your staff, you equip them with the relevant skills to execute assigned tasks and responsibilities. In the course of doing this, you should show them support by trying to remove every form of barrier (within the company's control) that will impede their capabilities to deliver, including environmental, intellectual or people barriers. Lastly, motivate them through a rewards system each time they excel at their duties, and reproof them as consequence for failure.
To think that you can do it all is the beginning of failure. You can get the best from your employees by delegating responsibilities to them; responsibilities in their area(s) of strength. This will allow you to focus on more higher-value and strategic tasks.
Delegation is a serious undertaking that you shouldn't take lightly. It starts off with you trusting and showing support to the task handler. Do remember that trust is a function of giving one time to experiment, forgiving past mistakes and giving new opportunities. The best managers are said to be the ones that get outstanding performance from just ordinary human beings.
4. Set Appropriate Goals
Goal setting is essential in life generally. If you incorporate this in business, it will help your employees prioritize their activities and most importantly, focus their efforts. It is critical that every single one of these goals be SMART i.e. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound - this will make it meaningful to the employee, and much more, when you put in place sufficient rewards for the goals achieved, and outline consequences for ones not achieved.
A goal without a plan is just a 'castle in the air' dream. Remember to not just set goals with the employee(s), but also put together a dated action plan to achieve them.
5. Show interest in their Personal Lives
"Always leave your personal problems at home" may be the mantra of old generation managers; but leaders of this age understand that the personal lives of employees have a direct impact on their work life productivity. While it may be practically impossible for CEOs of large organizations to show direct concern for their employees' personal affairs on an individual basis, start-ups and SMEs should embrace the culture where they actually care about what's going on outside the office walls.
When you show concern for some personal issues of your staff, it makes them see a boss who is humane, and also not selfish. In as much as I propose this with great caution (as some staff may abuse the opportunity), being able to break the walls around you to once in a while offer advice and support to your staff in their 'unofficial' lives makes them begin to see you as someone who is not just interested in what they offer your business, but also how they develop personally and succeed generally.