01 November 2015

People management and motivating staff

Key challenges when managing people and how to get the best out of them.

It’s a cliché, but one that remains perhaps truer than ever. A business’ most valuable asset are its people.

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If you’re an employer, your business won’t achieve its full potential without the hard work, dedication, goodwill, skill, knowledge and talent of those who work for you. In many ways, your people are your business. They can even think of new ideas and better ways of doing things that makes your business more successful.

Having great products or attractive branding will only bring you so much success. The rest is in the hands of your employees and their decisions and actions. If their performance isn’t up to scratch, customers will go elsewhere.

People management

Even if you have a great team and many years’ experience, people management can still provide a stern test at times.

Team members can be very different, which can mean they are motivated by different things. And business owners and managers sometimes have to use different approaches to people management to ensure they get the best from everyone. Some employees will require much more of your time. You’ll need to be firm, yet fair and consistent. Successful managers realise the value of praise and constructive criticism. They know when to talk and when to listen, and when to direct and when to trust their employees.

Things can change rapidly and significantly in business, which can also make people management more challenging. Excellent communication at all times underpins successful people management. You must also get your recruitment right if you are to build a good team.

Staff appraisals

Employment law has great implications for people management. Having sound workplace policies can prevent misunderstandings and problems.

Monitoring performance and discussing any issues informally or through more formal staff appraisals can help to keep your people productive.

Staff appraisals enable you not only to identify problems, but also set clear objectives for team members. You can even find out how you can help your people to make an even greater contribution (which might include staff training).

Motivating staff

How do you motivate staff? Good employees are self-motivated. They want to achieve good things, learn and grow. But at times you will have to provide added incentive.

Motivating staff is a challenge. What motivates one employee might not motivate another. While competitive basic pay and bonuses can help, not all businesses will be able to afford this, and motivating staff isn’t just about money.

People want to enjoy their role and be stimulated by their work. The quality of the relationship they have with their boss and colleagues affects their performance. People prefer to work in comfortable working environments. Many want to gain more knowledge, experience, responsibility and seniority.

People want their hard work and commitment to be recognised. They also want to be valued by those they work for, so simply remembering to thank your people for a job well done can work wonders for morale and productivity.

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