Business is a complex business! But do you know what shouldn’t be complex? The management of the employees in your business. You can either run a business the right way and do things by the book, or you can do it the wrong way and take shortcuts that will not benefit your business in the long run. It is very easy to think that you can treat everyone in a way that appeals to you, or dismiss employees willy-nilly – but that’s not the way forward, and it could very well be an exercise towards disaster. You see, there are a lot of shortcuts on offer, and a lot of them are hidden in company policy as innocent bits of legislation, but can be bent and used with malevolent force.
The best way to run a business and a team? With honesty, transparency, and fairness. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, so try to ensure your actions are done for the good of the business and are heavily backed up by the word of the law. Take your time with decisions, do a lot of research, talk to HR and act like a leader, not as a total bossy-boots!
The very first thing to do when managing employees is to create a productive and safe environment. This is something that is completely within your power and remit as a leader to do. Your workplace should be a place where everyone feels comfortable to be themselves in. On top of that, it should never be a place where discrimination takes place. Every single member of your staff and your team has the right to work without being harassed or discriminated against by yourself or the larger team. If you are unsure, consult your team and see what the bar is. Of course, if anyone comes to your door with a complaint regarding discrimination of any sorts it is imperative that you take this seriously as any complaint will always be grounded in some sort of upset. When staff members are upset it is up to you to not only address their complaints but to follow up. If staff members under your leadership see that you are taking no interest in their concerns, they could go above your head or even seek legal action.
Another part of creating a good working environment is to ensure that the needs of the staff are met. Can they eat and drink? Can they relax? Is it clean? Are the chairs comfortable and can the staff communicate? Making sure the office environment is clean and comfortable is key to creating a positive working environment that is safe and comfortable workplace.
You can also ensure you are doing everything possible by ensuring the team is in good spirits and that a solid rapport is built between you and your team in the workplace. People do not like to be treated as a means to an end, surprisingly, so avoid doing this! People are people, so treat them like friends and not tools. This is a sure fire way to gain respect and not animosity.
A team exists for a reason, and it is of massive importance to you and your company that you communicate with your team in a friendly and respectful manner. Some managers like to take a lofty perch and avoid creating relationships with their team, and thus lock themselves away in offices and only meet with team members based on appointments. This is not healthy. Some managers also focus on results far too much, and while results are important, they are not the be all and end all of your team, and if you keep presenting your team with results, they might lose focus and stop caring about the big picture.
Learn to speak to your employees and build rapport and a solid working relationship with your employees before focusing on any production of results. A focus on the big picture could very blind you as to what is happening right in front of your eyes. Your team needs to be able to trust in your abilities in order to deliver the results that you want from them. Think about it this way, will you be able to work to the best of your abilities if your boss is hovering over your shoulder demanding the best of you constantly?
The easiest way to build a solid working relationship with your team is to keep your door open. Your employees should be allowed to speak to you about anything as you are in a role of both authority and responsibility. Employees respond well to leaders and managers who clearly care about their wellbeing and their health not just in the place of work, but at home and in their personal life too. Speak to each employee as the diverse individual they are and do not be afraid to get to know each and every single member of your team in a personal manner.
Also, ensure you are capable of recognizing the success of team members. This isn’t just about who can bring in the most sales or hit their targets; it is about what everyone brings to the business in their own unique way. Is someone improving morale? Recognize it! Is someone taking time to train staff? Recognize it! Give credit where credit is due – it’s so very simple and will help your team cultivate a culture of success in the workplace. Staff won’t like it if their best efforts are not rewarded by the person in charge.
Before we jump into talking about discipline in the workplace it is absolutely essential to educate ourselves about the role of workplace human resources or HR. Human resource departments used to handle payroll and other areas, but are now a fully functioning arm of companies that focus on everything to do with employees. HR doesn’t and shouldn’t take a side, but they usually are the voice of the company – that does not mean that they should treat employees unfairly under any circumstances, though. Human resources departments are essential and should be well versed in not just employee and workplace law, but the law in general like Ellis Whittam. A good HR team is worth its weight in gold and should be taken seriously.
Discipline in the workplace needs to follow company procedures either laid out by yourself or the human resources department. Every action taken against an employee needs to be grounded in consistency, the law, company procedure, and fairness. In other words, if you set a bar or there is a bar set for behavior and ability in the workplace, stick to it. If you aren’t being consistent with punishments or discipline in the workplace, you could be sued or shown to be a perpetrator of discrimination in the workplace. Employees have a lot of reasons to be unhappy with their employers which means that before you take any action against employees, it needs to be grounded in both reason and evidence. This is where HR comes in as they set the bar and can let you know if you are following the best course of action in regards to a problem employee. It is very easy to slip up in this area so ensure your actions are documented, evidence and backed up in as many ways as possible.
There’s only one way to manage employees and that’s well. Be yourself, be natural and don’t be a total authoritarian when it isn’t called for. People can see through your methods easily, so be natural and be the best manager you can be.