A Simple and Practical Guide to Managing Your Office Employees
If you an entrepreneur or a business owner, the hustle of running a business is not unknown to you. To run an organisation smoothly, you need active coordination between all the resources. This includes human resources too. Managing your office employees can be a tricky undertaking. In fact, it can be much more demanding than you anticipate. All people respond differently to different management styles, incentives and work arrangements. So, the question is simple: how can one manage the office employees to get the work done effectively and efficiently?
Here’s a handy guide to help you in the process:
Choose Your Management Style
Anyone in a senior role at any organisation, leading people and taking managerial decisions will tell you that there is no fixed recipe for success. You need to adapt your working style to the changing business environment and always be open to changes.
In managing your employees effectively, your management style dictates your actions. Here are the four management styles that you can adopt under various circumstances:
- Classic Entrepreneur: If business conditions demand that you prioritise the financial well-being of your company, then it would be helpful to create reporting structures within your team that help you measure your activities and goals in terms of financial returns, market shares and similar metrics
- Modern Missionary: If you are someone who doesn’t think success and financial payoffs are synonymous, then you might be inclined to create an aspirational product or service. If you are taking risks to create an impact, then the employees will need to be motivated on these intangible aspects too!
- Problem Solver: If your product aims to address a gap in the market, you would be interested to get concrete results. You will rely on experience and expertise. In this case, employees would benefit from solid instructions from you. You are likely to confront difficulties and identify new opportunities, so teach your employees to do the same.
- Solution Finder: If your eyes are on the goal, you will often take charge and responsibility for the results as well the steps to get there. You will need to let go a little and believe in the genius of your employees and colleagues.
Different business situations might require you to adopt a different leadership style. Make sure your managerial actions work in tandem with your larger organisational goals and industry trends.
Team Building and Personal Rapport Building
One of the trickiest parts of managing people is dealing with emotions. Unlike physical or external resources, human resources present this unique challenge: how do you talk to people to get work done, but ensure dignity in the workplace?
The answer lies in team-building and personal rapport building. There are a plethora of tasks that you can get done faster if you share a personal tangent with your employees. So, put in that slight extra bit of effort in getting to know your employees! A personal rapport will take you a long way with your teams!
Communication is key
This cannot be emphasised enough: always communicate well with your office employees. No matter which level in the hierarchy your employees work at, they like to be kept in the loop about company decisions, ongoing projects, prospective clients etc. They also like to preempt any misadventures. Here are a few things you should solidify communication on:
- Clearly convey your expectations of them and how they contribute to the overall organisational success.
- Encourage an environment of feedback. Provide timely feedback on their work.
- Ensure a safe space where the employees can share their feedback too.
- Acknowledge the achievements and efforts of your employees.
- Avoid micromanaging. Except in extremely rare situations, micromanaging never works. Assign work, communicate your goals and follow-up with your employees, but don’t hinder their creative processes.
Design the office in a way that facilitates communication
Having established the importance of communication in the success of any project, teams need to be seated such that this communication is made possible. This may seem innocuous but the design and layout of the office can play a major role in creating a space conducive to active communication. Keep in mind the following:
- Strike an architectural balance between collaborative work sessions and quiet pursuits
- Understand how the design elements of exposure and enclosure will impact the
- Invest in good furniture. Office desks should serve well on all fronts, including utility and size.
- Make space for technology to be incorporated in the design of the office such that it enhances the quality of communication.
- Have a dedicated space for brainstorming sessions. It should be a well-lit and spacious room with tools like whiteboards, pin-boards, markers,
- Have a common space where people – especially leaders – can make themselves available for open interactions with others. Hierarchy is good, but open communication is what wins the game when it comes to new-age companies and start-ups.
No matter how solid and foolproof your communication systems are, there will always be conflicts arising in the workplace. Do not ignore a conflict, address it.
Ask yourself a few questions when you try to resolve a conflict:
- Who are the employees and what role do they play?
- Does one party in the conflict have more expertise than the other? Even so, nothing gives them the right to dictate work on their own terms.
- How do such conflicts impact clients, prospective hires and other visitors to the office?
- Are their behavioural patterns displayed in the office that possibly point to an unhealthy bias?
- How is the leader’s role perceived by the employees?
Hiring and Firing
As mentioned before, feedback is a critical part of any job. Ongoing feedback needs to contribute to overall performance reviews, which later form a part of the promotion, hiring and firing cycle. Performance reviews should be done at least twice per year. Make sure there is two-way communication, open for the employees too.
Be empathetic when it comes to tough decisions like firing.
What happens when offices go remote?
In today’s time, it is not uncommon to have employees working for you remotely. There is a compounded risk of employee disinterest or dissatisfaction in such a scenario, so here are a few things you can do to ensure a steady workflow:
- Schedule daily check-ins
- Create separate channels for official and unofficial communication
- Make space for emotional support
- Provide technological tools in the form of devices and internet to work productively
And don’t forget: keep learning from experience!