How to properly manage staff is one of the great questions that face all executives, team leaders, and entrepreneurs who have a plan for expansion in the near future. Simply put, most companies cannot ultimately survive as solo operations, and so must ultimately sink or swim based on the ethics, conscientiousness, enthusiasm, and teamwork of their staff.
Of course, any good management strategy requires more than a touch of nuance. You could scare your staff into line and belittle them when they cross you, but then you’ll be setting yourself up for a major backlash sooner or later. Work will be done badly and grudgingly, people will take chances to ruin your day on purpose, and the second another employment opportunity presents itself, everyone will walk.
What you really want to do is to encourage your staff to do their best work of their own accord, rather than having to coerce them to make it happen.
Since that is an altogether better way of doing things, here are some tips.
Offer training opportunities and qualifications freely
Generally speaking, most employees will be grateful to employers who treat them as people with career aspects and ambitions of their own, and who take the requisite steps to nurture them professionally.
By offering your staff training opportunities and qualifications freely, you help to invest in their future in a positive way. You also show that you have a degree of trust in them — that you believe in making them more employable to competitors, without fearing they’re going to flee at the first opportunity.
Last but not least, these training opportunities and qualifications may significantly boost their on-the-job performance in your own company.
Putting all your staff through a first aid course, or sponsoring your senior people to do an online MBA in finance can both encourage them to do their best work.
Incentive and facilitate autonomous creativity
Back in the day, Google famously innovated a policy of requiring their employees to spend 20% of their working time, working autonomously on personal projects that they believed would benefit the company.
This policy, or something like it, has since been adopted by other groups and has spread fairly widely, and for good reason.
People are consistently driven to work harder and with more enthusiasm when they have a degree of autonomy over their work, and when they feel like they’re making a real, positive impact. By incentivising and facilitating autonomous creativity among your employees, you significantly increase the odds that they will do better work.
Put tools and structures in place to reduce resistance to desirable behaviors, and increase resistance to undesirable ones
Often, staff may be rendered disheartened or unproductive due to the kinds of mishaps and administrative errors that could be totally avoided with a bit of careful thought.
It is common, for example, for team members who are working on the same project together but who have poor channels of communication, to end up stepping on each others’ toes and re-writing each other’s work.
As much as possible, use tools and put structures in place to reduce the resistance to desirable behaviours and increase resistance to undesirable ones. Website blockers, for example, can prevent your employees from wasting time on social media, while team project management tools can ensure a more harmonious working environment.