Starting your own business is a brave act of letting go of your comfortable and monthly income. But aside from conditioning yourself that you are ready (mentally, physically, financially and emotionally) to be a full time business owner, did you also think about and prepared yourself on how to manage people?
When I started my own business, I thought I already know how to manage people since I’ve had experience supervising people when I was employed in a private company. It was only when I already started running the business and managing people as a business owner that I realised I wasn’t that equipped yet on how to manage people as I thought I was. In fact, in the first three (3) years of the business, I think I managed the business and the people not as good as I wanted to. I made a lot of mistake that took a couple of years to correct. But fortunately, the company was able to continue and correct those mistakes. Somehow, in the present the company has still areas to improved, but the company and its people are better operated and managed compared to the past years.
I learned a lot from such mistakes, especially on how to manage people. And that’s what I want to share with you in this article in order for you to better manage your business by managing properly your people that helps you run the business.
1. Define the Qualities of the People You Want to Work With
Before you even begin hiring an employee, you need to define what qualities you want your employees to have. List down all the traits that are important. Update this list as you go along. Aside from the traits you want or look for, define the traits you don’t want.
2. Take time in selecting people.
The best time to look for potential employees is when you don’t need one. I learned this the hard way. In my own business, I used to look for candidates when I need to hire people immediately or as the need arises. The consequence is I hire without considering if they meet the qualities I have defined. Then later on I will regret it. Either because the qualified person applied afterwards or the person i hired fails to meet the requirement of the job. So I have to let them go and start hiring again.
3. Communicate Job Description and Expectation
Communicating job description and expectation to employees from the very 1st day is important. It closes the gap between what is expected by the owner/manager versus what the employee delivers.
4. Have a Definite System
Knowing the qualities and hiring the best people can’t guarantee success of your business if there’s no system in place. System is a set of procedures on how things should be done. This will be the rules and procedures your people will follow. Without a system, it will be chaotic or confusing to operate your business even if you have the best people. Also the system will be the basis of your measurement if the operation and its people are performing well.
5. Have a Training in Place
Another important aspect of managing people is providing training. Training is a way to teach your people into the system. It also set the expectation, on both side. The employee will understand the company and what is expected from him/her while the company can measure the employee’s capacity to do what is required.
6. Be Present in the Operation
After training the employee, be present during the first few days, weeks or month of live operation. Since this is a new hire, they still need your guidance. If you are not available, assign an experience and knowledgeable staff to guide the new hire.
7. Measure and Evaluate Performance
Another important step in managing people is to have a definite measurement of performance. Such measurement must be based on data gathering that is systemize and unbiased. Once you have a system of measuring performance, schedule periodic time for evaluating employee performance either every quarter, semi-annual or annual.
8. Decide on Employee Status Based on Performance
Once you have measured and evaluated performance, next step is to decide on the employment status of the employee. Decision will be to retain, promote, demote, or let go of the employee. In this step you must be firm and objective. Because any wrong decision will cause some harm to your business.
9. Reward and Reprimand
Managing employees is somehow similar to raising a child. You need consistent communication, guidance and coaching. Also, similarly, you must establish a reward/reprimand system on their performance and behaviour. You must have a reward system in place for top performing employees to motivate them to continuously perform well while reprimand those who are not performing. When I say reprimand, give consequence for their actions or inactions.
10. Guide Employees to Achieve Their Professional Goals
An important factor in managing people is guiding/coaching them to achieve their professional goals. Have coaching in place and bring them along to events that can expose them to improve their knowledge, skills and personality.
Managing people can be difficult and a huge responsibility. I hope this article has somehow answered some of your questions on how to manage people in your own business.
For a final note, let me leave you this quote from John Maxwell:
“Management is a process of assuring that the program and objectives of the organizations is implemented. Leadership on the other hand has to do in casting the vision and motivating people.”