One of the most challenging parts of running a small or medium enterprise is being an employer of labour. Whether you have 3 employees or 30, life as you know it has changed forever.
You’re now directly responsible to and for others, and you have to do right by them and also make sure that your business is better for their being there.
7 pitfalls you’ll want to avoid:
You should only hire the most competent people. If you hire people based on sentiment, or just because someone you know recommended them, you’ll regret it because both you and them will be frustrated if they aren’t a good fit for the role. If you’re really serious about building a successful business, hire the best fit every single time.
Being afraid to fire:
If you’ve made the mistake of hiring poorly, don’t be afraid to let the person go when this becomes clear. Your team is only as strong as its weakest link. Patience has its place, but if you have someone on your team slowing everyone down by not pulling their weight, consider moving them to a different role, or letting them go entirely. It can be hard, but it’s often best for you and for them.
Pushing new employees too fast:
New employees need time to settle in, and often need even more time to achieve peak productivity especially in target-driven roles like sales. Once in a while you hire that superstar who just hits the ground running, but more often than not new employees will need time to get used to you as their boss, get used to your organization, and get used to their role in it and how they fit into the big picture.
Fostering unhealthy competition:
Avoid the mistake of pitting your employees against each other. You may think you’re just encouraging them to perform, but what you’re actually doing is chipping away at camaraderie, and replacing it with bad blood that will sabotage your business. Don’t do it. If your goal is to encourage competition that will foster growth and produce results, go for healthy systems like rewards, recognition, etc.
Unless you hired poorly, there really won’t be any need to control every small part of their work activities. You have competent staff, so trust them, give them the freedom to show initiative, and resist the temptation to hover over their shoulders. Allow them to do their job, and to grow.
When communicating, the onus is on you to make sure that you are understood. Always be clear when giving instructions. Don’t speak from both sides of your mouth; say what you mean and mean what you say. This way, your employees know what you want, how you want it, and when.
You know the saying about paying peanuts and getting monkeys. You can’t attract the right people if you don’t pay well. Even if you do manage to get good employees for cheap, the lack of financial motivation will soon catch up. Attractive salaries, bonuses and commissions have been known to take businesses from good to great. Beyond cash, keep your staff motivated by affirming them, showing real interest in their career growth, and simply practicing kindness.