I’ve hired and fired enough people to know what works and what doesn’t in terms of managing staff. When you’re dealing with people, things can be unpredictable, but I’ve learned a few lessons that always hold true. Here’s my top list of things you should NOT do when you’re dealing with your staff.
- Expect the same dedication you bring to the office. Your company is your baby. It’s your dream, your vision, and your potential payoff. Your staff – even the most vibrant, engaged employees – are in it for the paycheck. They don’t stand to gain as much as you do if you succeed, and they don’t see the same value you do in sacrificing their energy, free time, and income. If you expect your staff to give up their lives in service of your vision, you’re asking too much, and you’re certain to be disappointed. Be realistic about what you can expect from your staff.
- Give a lofty title to a rookie. In the absence of tons of free money, entrepreneurs sometimes have to be creative when it comes to rewarding their staff. Don’t attempt to compensate your staff by giving them titles they haven’t earned. If you hire on an admin to handle your corporate Facebook and Twitter account and put “Chief Marketing Officer” on the new business card, you’re setting yourself up for problems. If your new Chief Marketing Officer learns that his title usually comes with a much higher salary out in the marketplace, he’s likely to become disgruntled and feel like he’s undercompensated. Give your staff authentic titles.
- Not handling reviews on time. Your employees know their start dates, and you should too. Not only do formal, regular reviews give you a chance to address any problems, but they also give your staff valuable feedback on what they’re doing right. Don’t overlook an opportunity to praise your staff.
- Train and pray. It’s expensive to hire and fire staff, and one of the most commonly made mistakes in the way business owners handle their staff is to skimp on the training. If you send an employee out with inadequate training, not only are you running the risk of disappointing your customers, but you’re also fostering uncertainty in your new hire. Let your staff know that you care enough about them and your clients to train and support new hires properly.
- Messing up the first day. Your new hire starts forming an impression of you and your company the second they walk through the door on the first day on the new job. You can either impress your new employee with business cards, formal, supportive training, and a schedule for the first day, or you can put them in a corner and let them fill out paperwork. Start your staff off right – thoughtfully, deliberately, and with a warm welcome that lets your employees know you’re glad they’re there.
Hiring and firing employees is time consuming and can be very costly. When you add in the immeasurable value of great staff, you’ll realize right away that making a conscious effort to handle your staff properly will pay dividends. You’ll be able to retain great staff and continue to give your customers great value, and you’ll also free yourself up to develop new business, rather than dealing with staff troubles.