Date: 04/03/2015 | By: Liz Painter

BizSmart Select Member Launa Walker writes about managing your staff to get the best from them…

In my last blog post, “How Do You Motivate Your Staff?” I mentioned the importance of developing a culture in the workplace based on motivating your staff.  I talked about how important it is to meet with your staff individually, to get to know them, and make sure you are motivating them to their full capacity.

Now, those of you who employ a number of people may wonder how you are going to get round them all, but do you remember what it was like when you worked somewhere else? There was structure; you managed so many people who managed so many people and so on.  The meetings you had were with those who reported directly to you and so on down the food chain. Ok, I know we all went into self-employment to escape the rigours of corporate, but the system doesn’t have to be riddled with policy and procedure, it’s just a very useful tool for you to follow for a number of reasons…here goes…

I know from bitter experience that if you are responsible for managing more than six people you can get overwhelmed with all the practicalities of managing effectively.  This impacts on your ability to do your day job.  So spread the load, see who can manage who in your business and get them to feed back about their team when you meet.

Now whether you call them catch-ups, supervisions, one-to-ones or something more inventive, making sure that every one of your employees gets to meet with their line manager at least every four to six weeks is vital. You might think that’s time out of your working day you can hardly spare.  Well, watch this space:

  • How do your staff really know what you want them to do?
  • Do you know what they are really doing?
  • Do you know what ideas they could have to really increase productivity?
  • Do you know what else they might be up to on your payroll?

1-2-1s are an ideal time to plan what your staff do, so they are on track to work towards the goals you want them to work towards, in the time you allocate for them to do it. This is a great time to nip issues in the bud before they blow out of control (who is not speaking to who this week?) and to use their knowledge of your business to let it grow. When else do they have time to share with you ways to improve and grow your bottom line? Team meetings are great but what is being hidden behind the team dynamic that you need to know about?

There is also the other side of the coin. If your staff are not being productive, how have you tried to support them? Have you offered training and coaching? Have you explored their issues and worked with them to help them improve? Any HR professional will tell you that regular documented supervisions with staff incapable of carrying out their job to your defined and agreed standards will stand you in good stead when the time comes for you to consider letting them go. (How many companies have I seen living with staff that have poor work or behaviour standards because it is easier than dealing with incapability or even discipline issues?)

So yes, I agree that regular 1-2-1s take time and effort but they are worth every minute. And they don’t have to be corporate and stiff. The supervisions I have with my team always involve cake and that’s the only rule in my book.

Launa Walker uses her extensive management experience to help develop your staff to deliver to their full potential.  You can view Launa’s Select Member Profile or give Launa a call on 07990 833 446.