By Anna Malczyk
If you are interested in this topic, take a look at our University of Cape Town (Law@Work) Practical Labour Law course.
For the success of any business, managing staff effectively is vital: well-managed employees are generally more productive, enthusiastic, confident and feel secure in their roles. Here are some important and practical aspects to consider.
1. Organisational structure
The structure of the organisation is critical to enable it to carry out its objectives: it identifies who is responsible for performing which tasks and for assuring that work gets done. Effective management structures streamline the workflow and the outputs at departmental, team and individual job levels.
The organisational structure, whether hierarchical or flat, will reflect the degree of control managers have over their employees. Flatter organisations typically suit a work environment where less control is required from supervision (for example where employees are specialists in their field). The physical layout of the office will be most effective if it mirrors the structure. For example, a firm of professionals working individually will often work in closed, separate offices, while employees in media or an advertising agency working together on projects may require open-plan or shared spaces.
2. The tools for the job
Employees need physical and personal tools to be able to carry out their work. While this sound obvious, the most common causes of inefficiency are the lack of proper functioning equipment, a space in which to work, employer support, access to the necessary complementary skills and adequate training. This important category also includes the employee’s induction – their introduction to the company or a new job environment in the first week of work. Induction, which is often overlooked, is absolutely critical, because it allows the new employee to assimilate to their role, position in the company, colleagues and working conditions comfortably; without it, employees are thrown in the deep end and may struggle to find their place.
3. Define the job
A good manager will ensure that each employee is absolutely clear on the scope and specifications of their job. An employee who understands their assigned role can work without constant support and hand holding. As the job changes over time, there should always be a clear channel of communication about the employee’s evolving role in the company.
4. Review, appraise, communicate
It’s important for managers to keep up with the needs, concerns and successes of their employees. It is extremely beneficial to have regular performance appraisals, where employer and employee can touch base, discuss any issues that have arisen and re-evaluate the employee’s responsibilities. In addition to this, the manager must create a forum for discussion in the company – this can be as simple as promptly discussing and attending to employees’ concerns as they arise. Finally, it is vital for employee satisfaction to have an annual salary review; this will mean that employees are compensated for the value they add to the company and their salaries remain market related.
5. Office culture
The manager is the person who all employees look to to give the company direction; therefore, the manager must set a good example of appropriate office culture. Factors such as work ethic, formality, enthusiasm and collaboration filter down from the manager and affect the employees. The management style will influence how much employees feel that they are working towards a common goal and the extent to which trust and open communication exists.
The final point is simple: reward your employees for their good work and dedication. This doesn’t have to take the form of financial compensation. Other forms of recognition may include holding office events, giving time off (for example, over the World Cup for important matches) and perks that make the employee’s day more enjoyable (for example, providing a catered lunch). Happy employees who feel appreciated are more likely to work better and harder – which is the manager’s ultimate aim.
This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution license.