As a new business owner, one often begins life proudly wearing the jack-of-all-trades crown, which entails being the president to taking out the trash. However, there comes a point in one’s business life where, in order to go and grow, you must hire people to expand your organization. For many business owners this is not something they consider day one because, quite simply, they are heads down trying to get everything up and running and anyway, hiring is way down the road. However, in order to make more money, the day will come when you will need to bring in additional resources and become a professional manager and leader.
Unfortunately, many people have a hard time doing this as that is not why they went into business. Those who are able to successfully transition and understand that they must grow, typically do well, typically retain their employees and are typically more successful. The ones who do not are typically smaller because they are ‘working in the business, not on it’.
Good management means you have happier employees, which, in turn, leads to less turnover, stability in your business and satisfied clients. This is often easy to understand but harder to put into practice. If your background is not in the management of staff, then how do you become the kind of manager that employees would want to follow? It can be a complex transition, so let us look at five strategies to help you get started.
Get Your Documentation in Place
- Job Description
The job description serves as the outline to post open positions. It is used in drafting your hiring letters and to measure performance in periodic reviews. Have certain expectations and detail them here. Not communicating your expectations can cause unnecessary frustration.
- Employee Handbook
Get your company employee handbook in place. While it might be tempting to conclude that your employees are adults and should know how to handle themselves on the job, bear in mind that they like structure and a well-crafted employee handbook will give it to them.
- Procedures Manual
While your employee handbook allows you to document your company’s general standards and policies, a separate procedures manual details exactly how those expectations will be met.
- Annual Review
The final piece of documentation you should put in place is an annual review template and process that should be in writing. The specific form these reviews should take will depend on your individual needs.
While the documentation already outlined will allow you to meet your obligations when hiring, individual pieces of paper cannot tell you who to hire.
- Consider the role you are filling. Being clear on what is required for each role you are hiring for will make it much easier to find the appropriate candidate.
- Hiring smart also requires that you are clear on what your company has to offer the candidates you are considering. Think carefully about the culture you want to create for your firm. Make sure the energy you put into that carries through to every perspective employee you interview.
Set Compensation Fairly
Compensation is often a thorn in the side of many would–be managers. One of the key considerations to keep in mind is consistency. While this might be your first hire as you go and grow, you may want to bring on others. Setting compensation standards early can save you down the road, as labour can be your single largest controllable cost as a business owner. Whether you like it or not, employees often talk, and they can become dissatisfied when they share salary information. Systems help keep things consistent.
Be an Active Manager
Follow the Golden Rule here: Treat your employees the same way you would want a manager to treat you. Check in with your employees regularly and ensure that problems they have are given the attention they deserve and responded to personally, even if they cannot be immediately resolved. Learn to give good feedback and work to identify the appropriate times to offer public compliments or private criticism. Apply your company rules fairly, but stand behind your employees one–hundred percent when they are right.
Last But Not Least – Prepare for Turnover
Recognize that no matter how many steps you take to be a good manager or leader, turnover is inevitable. However, if there is someone you are determined to hang on to, the number one thing to understand is that if you really want to keep an employee long–term, is that nobody quits themselves. The most common reason people leave is not because of money but their interpersonal relationships on the job. Once an employee has lost faith in your company, there is no amount of money, benefits, or stock you can throw at them that will recover their trust.
By applying the five strategies I have described to your company’s human resources needs, you will serve to create an environment that attracts talented workers and allows them to thrive – no matter how strong or not so strong your managerial background might be. If you are not totally comfortable tackling this job alone then seek the services of an HR consultant on a contract basis to help you to get your human resources needs taken care of the right way. To Your Success!