As your business grows, you will need to take on staff to help you with the day-to-day running of your company. As a manager, there are some things that, by law, you are required to do and provide. Other areas are not necessarily legal requirements, but should still be provided.
An employee’s working hours, pay, holiday and sickness entitlements and other benefits should be agreed upon before the employee starts to work for you, and should always be included in the contract. Ensure that the contract is a written document and that both you and the employee have a copy to refer back to in case of disagreements – remember, if you’ve both signed a contract it’s legally binding. Please see our guide to contracts of employment for further advice.
One of the most important things that you will need to learn as a manager is how to delegate appropriately. You will need to know who to delegate to and when it is appropriate to delegate.
You must ensure that the delegate is capable of performing delegated tasks and that these tasks fall within the parameters of their job description. Do they have the appropriate background, skills and knowledge to deal with the task? Always explain exactly what the outcome of the task should be – try to let them have as much autonomy as possible to reach the goal but make sure they know help is available should they require it.
Relationships and team building
Although the people you work with may not be the people that you choose to spend time with outside of work, maintaining good relationships with staff is extremely important – the saying ‘treat others as you would wish to be treated’ is applicable.
There are several key ways to improve relationships and team build. Firstly: do not play the blame game. If there is a problem you will need to find out who is involved, but do not simply identify and publicly blame individual members of staff.
You should always listen to what your employees have to say – don’t spend the whole time telling them what YOU think. Always take an interest when your employees are discussing something with you – you never know how much benefit it could have for your business.
Verbal and nonverbal communication are equally important – regardless of what you are saying to your employees, do not talk down to them or be sarcastic as they will not appreciate your tone.
Ensure that your team can work well together. Although sometimes personality clashes cannot be avoided, you can always try to help staff in difficult situations. Set aside the time to have team meetings and ensure that everyone is happy with their situation – if not, listen to their comments and do what you can to help.
Staff get-togethers can always help a team to relax and get to know each other – see our guide to organising a staff social for more information.
Morale and recognition
There are many ways in which you can aim to boost employee morale – you could start by celebrating events such as birthdays in the office by bringing in cake (everyone likes cake). Always recognise when your employees have done good work (perhaps with more cake?).
You should aim to make the workplace comfortable and fun – you don’t have to quite go to the standard of, say, Google’s offices but everyone likes a nice working environment, and increasingly employers are finding that better-quality premises attract better employees. Perhaps try putting some games in the staff room if you have one – this could also help with team building.
Goal setting and appraisal
Many (although not all) employers now carry out regular staff appraisals. An appraisal is generally used to update an employee on their progress since their last review (or since they started working for you), to raise any issues either you or the employee have, and to set goals for the employee to aim for.
Appraisals must be an ongoing process – you should always aim to monitor how your staff are doing (without being overbearing) and preparation should be done by both parties before an appraisal meeting to see how well the employee has done in meeting goals set in previous meetings.
If any issues should be raised as a result of an appraisal, or if an employee feels that they need extra training in a certain area, many employers now designate funds to ensure that their staff receive the training they require. Not only can this help your current staff, but by informing potential employees that training may be available, you are likely to attract more candidates for new roles.
While some of this training may take place in-house, many employers choose to bring in external trainers or send their staff on courses. There are hundreds of options available so always do your research and discuss options with employees.