Operating a small business can be challenging, especially alongside your 9-5 job. It is more complicated when you start hiring employees. As someone who might still have to answer to a boss yourself, you are less likely to micro-manage your small business staff. Considering it is a small team, it is also not unusual to maintain close contact with them. However, this can pose a problem as such a relationship might blur the line between being a manager and a friend. Managing the workforce of a small business is an art. Below are some tips for mastering it effectively;
Be thorough with your hiring process
Recruiting the right people for jobs in your company makes management more effortless. Small business owners make the mistake of hiring the least qualified applicants willing to accept the lower pay. Even though this might appear as a prudent strategy, it can backfire.
You need competent people to handle your business; any subpar performance can hurt your business. Offer competitive wages/salary and post your job offer on sites where you will most likely get experienced applicants.
While perusing submitted CVs to shortlist candidates, do not be swayed by the caliber of companies the applicants have worked for. Instead, focus on their contribution to their previous companies.
Provide necessary tools and training
Your onboarding process for new hires can significantly impact their performance. Some small business owners consider onboarding as just introducing the new hires to other team members and showing them what they need to work on. Onboarding is beyond that. A Gallup report noted that the average onboarding program lasts 90 days, and it takes new employees about 12 months to reach their full performance potential.
Proper onboarding includes providing the required tools the new hires need. For those that need training, do not hesitate to offer it. This will improve productivity. Be sure to check in with the new hires occasionally to ensure they maximize the use of the tools and training. Do not hesitate to provide them with anything they need to improve their work quality.
Set clear expectations
Letting everyone on your team understand what they are expected to do and when is essential. Likewise, they need to understand the company’s mission and objective and how the task assigned is crucial to its overall goals.
Use the SMART framework while assigning tasks. This is to ensure the tasks assigned to your employees are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-oriented, and Time-bound.
Provide clear Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that let employees know if they are meeting expectations. Conduct in-person reviews at least twice a year and offer constructive criticism. To inspire them, create a healthy competitive culture by appreciating the best-performing staff with an employee of the month plaque. Maintain an open-door policy so they can always contact you whenever they have a problem with the assigned task or require more clarification about the expectation.
Do not treat your employee like a family
You may want to read that again. Die the idea of making your staff act like one family. Indeed, the company needs a family-like culture, such as caring and respect for employees to feel appreciated. The problem with a family-like strategy is that emotion comes first before official action. However, if you treat your company like a sports team, the best strategy wins and not by nepotism. Also, the word “family” means different things to different people. Some employees are only comfortable collaborating with others and not seeing them as a brother or sister. They prefer keeping their work and personal life separate. However, a family culture at the workplace will demand everyone knows everything about others, which many employees might find discomforting. Enforcing it might be disastrous to such employees’ productivity.
If you operate a democratic or participative managerial style, a family culture will prevent employees from speaking up against an idea they do not like so as not to offend a superior they now consider as a father or mother.
This can also lead to an exaggerated sense of loyalty whereby employees will go to any length to ensure a project is completed. As much as this is an excellent sign of commitment, it is only a matter of time until their performance and productivity reduce due to burnout.
Know when to let an employee go
Firing an employee is challenging if you have experience working in a corporate environment. You understand how it can affect the worker mentally and financially. Unfortunately, it is one of the things you must do as a business owner.
Whenever you notice an employee is becoming toxic by damping the morale of others or suddenly becoming a quiet quitter, find out why. Help in ways you can to see them turn around. If there is no improvement at the end of the day, you should let them go, even if they are one of your favorite employees. Think of the business above anything else; if firing them will improve the team, be confident to do it.