Your staff are your biggest business asset – how to get the most out of them (and them out of you!)
Hiring employees is a big step. You want the right people with the right skills. The pool of talent in any business is the catalyst to success.
But managing and growing your people is a challenge. No manager has all the knowledge they need to make the right choices all the time. The physical process of advertising, shortlisting and interviewing takes time and can also be complex.
This is why many firms have a specialist on their team, well versed in human resources and such matters.
But once you have hired people, how do you maximise their success? How do you get the most from them and them from you?
A Four-Step Process
It is incredibly simplified but this four-step process gives a basic idea of what and how to get the right people and, once on the payroll, how you can harness their talents and maximise success.
Step 1 – Set Appropriate Goals
We all need something to aim for. As a business, you will have goals – to outstrip competitors, gain more customers etc. – and although your employees will no doubt subscribe to these ideas, they need individual goals.
But their goals are not just about driving forward your business: they need to drive them forward too.
This is about upskilling your people so that your business creates a better, broader and highly skilled base to its operations.
Do your employees have individual goals, as well as overarching business goals to aim for? Use the SMART process as the basic model for employees to create their own individual goals, as well as dove-tailing with company ones.
Step 2 – Develop an Action Plan to Achieve These Goals
Identifying goals are all well and good but unless you create an action plan to achieve them, they will remain empty promise, gathering dust on a shelf.
This is why goals need to SMART and driven. Employees need to commit to a set of actions that get them where they want to be, and in the process, take the business in that direction too.
Employees can often come up with ideas that take your business in a whole new direction, or cement its place as a market leader in some areas. The difficulty can be marrying your overarching vision with the one that an employee wants.
It takes negotiation but if they want to become a social media expert, why not? Isn’t a strong social media presence what you need?
Nurturing your pool talent is a dynamic process and it needs managing.
Step 3 – Empowering Employees
You could also call this step ‘letting go’. How many people have you worked for that kept you and your talents within a prescribed boundary?
Empowering employees means trusting them to do the job that you have asked them to do. The basic are threefold;
- Train employees to do their job and to do it well
- Motivate your people with rewards for success. Work with them, talk to them, listen, encourage and support. All the things that nurture people in the role that they are in and roles and responsibilities they could take in the future.
- Remove blocks that are in the way – in other words, change what your business can change so that people are encouraged to meet their own goals, as well as those of the business.
Ricard Branson is famed for saying that customers don’t come first, employees do because look after your employees, and they will look after customers.
Step 4 – Assess and Adjust
You have individual employee goals and you have an action plan. Now what? You leave them to get on with it? Possibly but wouldn’t it be more fruitful for everyone concerned if the process remained dynamic and alive?
This means monitoring and reviewing successes, adjusting when things have not or are not working out as expected.
You don’t need to necessarily have a prescribed timetable for reviews and appraisals. Some employees may need weekly meetings, others working on specific projects may need to meet every six weeks. You may prefer ad hoc meetings, or prefer to set a timetable in which everyone sits downs and reviews their action plan and results thus far.
You Won’t Always Get It Right – And Neither Will Employees
Looking after your pool is talent is essential but you won’t always make the right choices at the right time. We are, after all, human and what works for one person, doesn’t work for another. Some people need careful managing, others will fly but know where their boundaries are.
But with goal setting, action planning and reviewing, you can let your people fly – and watch your business soar too.
Image provided by NCC Home Learning under a suitable license.
About the author:
NCC Home Learning has a range of study-in-your-own-time courses, ideal for upskilling and challenging a staff team – and business owners and managers too.