Retail businesses declare that their customers are at the heart of their operations, but the truth is slightly different; although decisions might be made with consumers in mind, no organisation can be successful unless it manages its staff effectively. That’s why HR departments are always at the epicentre of a business’s structure and, more importantly, why most of the businesses that are profitable score highly in employee satisfaction surveys. Here are a few practical tips on how to manage your staff efficiently and help improve your company’s overall performance.
Structure Your Business Wisely
From small businesses to multi-national organisations, the organisational structure that a business adopts defines its efficiency – and, consequently, its sustainability and profitability. Every employee needs to know who his supervisors are and never face confusion over whom he should turn to in case he wants to discuss a professional issue. A carefully designed and effective organisational structure guarantees that rules and hierarchy are always clear, that everyone acts according to the company’s mission and that the organisation manages human and financial resources in the most efficient way.
Motivate Your Employees
You want to employ the “I can’t wait to get to the office” people, not the “I can’t wait to get out of work” ones. Adopting the latest staff selection procedures is definitely a good start. But being enthusiastic and devoted to your work is not just a matter of personality, it’s an ongoing process. There are many ways you can keep your staff motivated; offering a good salary is only one of them – and not always the most effective one*. Choosing internal promotions and/or transfers over recruiting new staff shows that your business truly offers development opportunities to its staff. Recognise that everyone is different and get to know each employee’s strengths and weaknesses; this way you can assign tasks and responsibilities according to each individual’s potential.
Make Meetings Matter
Even though meetings are an important part of the daily agenda it’s not always guaranteed that they enhance the staff’s productivity; on the contrary, they often prove to be a complete waste of time. No one wants to attend meetings if nothing new comes out of them or if they keep dragging for hours for no apparent reason. Make sure that the monthly schedule is fixed up on time and don’t overdo it by arranging more meetings than are actually necessary. Prior to a meeting, use memos to inform every participant on the agenda, set time limits and ask from everyone to come well-prepared.
Offer Staff Training
Recruiting fresh talent is vital to all organisations, but so is nurturing your current staff’s talents and help them develop new skills. Schedule regular training sessions to help your employees grow their skills or gain new knowledge and reward them for demonstrating interest or performing well.
Measure Your Staff’s Performance
Measuring and managing your staff’s performance is an ongoing process that helps you monitor each employee’s and the staff’s overall contribution to the company’s mission. The key factor when it comes to evaluating performance is to find the balance between being too vague about it – something that can lead to sloth and low levels of productivity – and being too strict – that will probably generate fear amongst your employees and lead to opposite results. Fortunately, nowadays technology is on your side and can help you monitor your employees’ performance impartially and efficiently.
RCS have been designing and developing bespoke EPoS solutions for the retail industry since 1989. Our EPoS systems include numerous functions that provide you with all the necessary reports to help you manage your employees more efficiently and evaluate their performance. Just to give you an idea of what our EPoS systems can add to your staff management, let us mention the “Time and Attendance” module that came as a result of our efforts to always design modern, innovative features for our EPoS solutions. The “Time and Attendance” module is a function that can be added to your EPoS solution to help you manage every aspect of your staff’s shifts schedule and monitor if they comply with it, whether you run a single or a multi-site business.
Adopt a Transparent Management and Financial Model
Members of your staff shouldn’t be left in the dark when it comes to the management tactics that the management uses and the financial status of the business; being a member of a company is all about feeling that you belong to a big family and being in a position to trust your colleagues and managers. Adopt “clear” recruiting and promotion procedures. Make sure that every member of the staff knows what is expected of him and understands how his performance is evaluated. Additionally, inform them on the company’s finances on a regular basis – publishing an annual report is probably the most common way of doing it. The financial crisis has deeply affected the market and has cultivated fear and insecurity amongst professionals; if you want your staff to focus on being productive, you have to make sure that they don’t question corporate decisions or feel insecure about their future.
Build Strong Relationships
Normally, large organisations set the standards for the market and small businesses try to keep up with them. Nevertheless, if I had to pick one thing that big businesses can learn from their minor competitors this would be the way relationships are built. There is no room for drama in a small business, the staff have to get along well and work together in harmony; no matter how qualified someone is if he doesn’t fit well within the team then he can’t be a part of the company. What’s more, after a while, senior and junior members don’t stress over abiding by the formal hierarchy rules and focus on bringing results, which is actually what matters most –essence over pretence. It’s not always easy to ensure that the staffs will get along well within a large organisation, but organising team building activities and social networking events on a regular basis will definitely help you promote healthy relationships between your employees.
Reward Effort As Well As Results
Managers, especially in highly competitive environments, tend to reward only those that demonstrate major achievements, but they overlook the fact that trying new things – and being allowed to make mistakes – is a prerequisite for success. Yes, eventually every manager needs to see some actual results, but don’t forget that without experimenting with fresh ideas your competition will finally get you. Encourage your employees to be creative and come up with new ideas, even if they are not always applicable or profitable ones. You never know when someone will come up with the next big idea.
Value Feedback from All Your Employees (Not Just From Senior Managers)
Establishing good communication channels within the organisation is key to success. In order to succeed in this you need to show to your employees that their opinion counts and that there is always a door open for them in the company. Senior managers and board members know that their feedback is vital to the company’s operations; it is the junior members of staff that you should encourage to participate in this process and provide useful feedback and ideas. Keep your ears open, sometimes it’s the newest or low-level members of staff that can give you a refreshing view on things.
Make Room for Fun in the Daily Schedule
Workplace isn’t only about reaching targets and improving on performance; it’s also about building personal relationships and creating a friendly, welcoming environment for your employees. Bring fun into the picture by organising occasional out-of-the-office activities, such as a paintball day or a special screening just for them at the cinema! You can also organise events on a regular basis, such as networking mornings or community Fridays (and combine fun with some community work)!
Set a Good Example
Employees need management that inspires them, not one that generates fear or contempt. Set a good example by being the first one to abide by the company’s regulations and by always trying to reach your targets and over-deliver. Don’t stick to professional attitude though; be the employee you ask them to be by demonstrating that you have personal skills, such as team spirit, or that you are not afraid to take on responsibilities. Remember that if you are the last one to walk through the door in the morning and the first one to leave in the afternoon it is difficult to persuade your team to do their best and surpass any difficulties.
Remember That They Are Humans Too, Not Just Your Employees
Asking of your employees to put the company’s needs first may sound romantic to you, but it’s also irrational. Your employees get paid to do their job and, if you have selected them wisely (and have been a bit lucky as well), they will gladly do more than that. Never forget that no one likes to put his private life on hold though, especially if it’s not his own business he’s sacrificing it for. Be rational in the goals that you set if you want to avoid working with “burnout” colleagues. Most importantly, make your employees feel that they are more than human resources to you; get to know them personally, engage in social conversations with them and surprise them with little gifts that can show them that you care (like a nice buffet on a random Friday).
If you are interested in finding out more about what we do here at RCS, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 01924 260 020 or visit our website – http://www.rcs-uk.com/.