and Managing Employees
Unless your business
consists only of yourself, those that work for you and with you play a
critical part in determining the success of your business and the level
of satisfaction you get from managing the business. Managing employees
and the entire employment process probably takes a considerable portion
of your time and resources.
Granted, hiring the
right individuals for specific jobs is very important as is terminating
employees. But, the middle part of the process - managing existing employees
- is usually more time consuming and just as important. Here are some
ideas that may help.
Make sure employees
know what is expected.
It can be frustrating for both the worker and the supervisor if there
isn't a common understanding of what the worker is supposed to do. Defining
a position with a job description will provide guidelines for the hiring
process and help ensure that the person hired has the right skills for
the job. For the employee, a job description can relieve anxiety and give
him or her a better sense of how the duties are part of the larger picture.
Along with employees
knowing what tasks they should be performing, they need to know how much
they should be accomplishing on a daily, weekly or longer basis. Establishing
reasonable productivity expectations encourage workers to meet those expectations.
Abraham Maslow, a noted industrial psychologist quoted in many business
management books, suggested that motivation could be centered on a "hierarchy
of needs." People first need to satisfy their physical needs - hunger,
thirst, shelter and safety. Once those needs are met, getting recognition
from others and enhancing one's self-esteem become more important.
In a business setting,
these needs can be addressed in many ways. A safe, clean and pleasant
work environment along with reasonable compensation address the first
level needs. Providing recognition for a job well done can take several
forms. Verbal or written compliments for short-term performance and promotions
(or merit raises) for longer-term performance give employees evidence
that their efforts are appreciated.
Another practice that
is common in larger employee groups is some form of "employee of
the month" recognition. A plaque or special parking spot for these
employees can mean a great deal. The additional benefit of this approach
is that other workers see it and are often driven to get that same recognition.
Employees' self esteem
is generally how they feel about themselves. Most people want to feel
that their efforts are both appreciated and worthwhile. They want to feel
that what they are doing makes a positive difference for themselves and
their company. Involving employees in various decision-making activities
demonstrates that the company values their work and ideas. If their ideas
are implemented, and if those ideas generate success, the feeling of satisfaction
will make employees feel better about themselves.
Day-to-day feedback is an important part of managing employees. Let people
know what they are doing well and what they are doing that needs improvement.
Not providing this day-to-day feedback can create a nonproductive environment
and frustrations for employees and supervisors.
Having a more formal
(and longer-term) evaluation process gives you the opportunity to then
become the basis for decisions on compensation and promotions. Combining
short-term and long-term evaluations should result in fewer surprises.
Monetary compensation is important. An employee's wages must be competitive
and yet reflective of the value they are providing to the business. Employee
benefits are also critical. The right combination of a retirement plan,
various insurance benefits and other perks can be basis of a total compensation
There are also other
ways to provide rewards in a less structured and perhaps less expensive
manner. Consider the following:
- Give employees
some flexibility in scheduling. Depending on your business, offering
flexible hours or letting employees trade hours with others can let
them deal with personal needs they may have.
- Share the perks
of the business. Sharing tickets to a sporting event or just a holiday
basket of fruit from a vendor helps employees feel that they are part
of the company.
- Do something fun.
Encourage a team to participate in a charity walk or buy admission to
an amusement park.
- Feed employees.
Sandwiches or pizzas occasionally help to foster a feeling of teamwork
and they encourage positive discussions between employees about what
is happening at work. There may even be a good idea surface in those
Motivation can take many forms. The physical, monetary and emotional incentives
that a company provides should serve to respond to the wants and needs
of the company and the employees. Examine what you want employees to accomplish.
Try to hire the right people and then make sure your motivational practices
address what is important to your employees.