Empower Your Business

Accounting is Just the Beginning


Dealing With Employees is Just Common Sense

In my last post I mentioned that if you want to be successful in your business, it’s not enough just being good at your core trade or profession: it is vital to have a good understanding of marketing, know how to deal with employees and have a grasp of the financial aspects of your business.

Over my working life I have been both employee and employer. As an employer I have had to deal with challenging employees and as an employee, had to suffer some pretty awful bosses. It’s really useful to have been on both sides (especially recently) as one can then see so many of the daft things that happen in the workplace. The key to success is really just common sense and if sensible principles were followed, we wouldn’t need all that complex employment legislation.

Here are some tips for employers based upon my experiences:

  • Do what you say you are going to do e.g. don’t say you are going to give someone a rise after three months if you have no intention of doing so and then don’t even carry out an appraisal.
  • Treat others as you would be treated yourself e.g. I’ve seen employers frothing at the mouth about having to pay staff for public holidays who seem to forget they were once paid for these themselves.
  • Treat mistakes as learning experiences, not a reason to punish or humiliate. If the employee cares the wretchedness they feel will be punishment enough and they won’t do it again. If they don’t, you know what to do.
  • Go all out to involve your employees. A typical employee in an average workplace will give about 60% effort but if you can engage them that effort will rise to 80% plus, making a huge difference to your business effectiveness.
  • If something goes right, give them the credit but if something goes wrong, don’t blame them if it’s not their fault, especially if as supervisor you should have picked it up!
  • Focus on outcomes, not inputs e.g. hours worked after hours. The cult of “presenteeism” is not useful.
  • An old one but still valid, praise in public, admonish in private.
  • If you pay rubbish, you will get rubbish. On the other hand, there’s no need to overpay as remuneration is not a motivating factor.
  • The fish rots from the head down so you must set a good example yourself. Some bosses are like WW1 generals, sipping champagne 50 miles behind the front whilst sending their underlings into the valley of death.
  • Train and mentor your staff. OK, they may well leave but overall you’ll be much better off with a well trained workforce who know what they’re doing.
  • Be careful of bonus or profit sharing schemes. They rarely work as intended and one side is often disappointed in the outcome – if it’s the employees you’ve then caused more harm than not introducing the scheme in the first place.
  • Give new employees a decent chance to settle in. I’ve seen many new recruits roundly cursed as useless only to turn into very capable, useful members of the team.
  • Reign in middle managers or supervisors who go around criticising their staff rather than spending their energy training and showing them how to do it better in the future.

If you want to implement some practical steps to improve the workplace culture in your business and need some sound and down-to-earth advice in this area, call our no-obligations, no-questions-asked Free Business Advice Line on 0800 ASK NICK or email.