Employee Management Guide for Small Business Owners

4. How to give feedback to employees

Employee feedback can be a tricky part of effective management. There’s a line to walk between coming off harsh and giving employees the constructive criticism you know they need. Complicating matters is that immediately providing feedback can prevent employees from making mistakes, but delivering feedback when you’re most bothered can make you appear intimidating. Of course, there are solutions to all these feedback-related problems.

Try setting up regular feedback sessions or one-on-one meetings in which you give fair, specific feedback. Remember that an employee’s way of doing things, given their background and skills, may differ from yours, and often, that’s okay. Try to give an equal amount of positive and constructive feedback. Consider giving the employee in question a preview of your feedback session beforehand so they can prepare to explain their perspective.

At the end of your feedback session, offer some next steps and allow the employee to give you their own feedback. This way, feedback becomes a two-way, rather than a one-way, street.

5. How to recognize employees

Employee retention, performance, and engagement are all key to long-term company success. For example, when employees constantly come and go, you lose their expertise, not to mention the time and money you’ve spent training them. To retain high-performing employees, you should implement employee recognition initiatives.

Tried-and-true employee recognition ideas include highlighting employee accomplishments, making small but meaningful gestures, and turning your break room into an especially fun space. It can also mean giving employees more choice and flexibility in their workdays, getting to know your employees outside the workplace, and simply saying “thank you” more often. Anything that tactfully shows your employees how much you value them can be worth the effort.

6. How to keep employees motivated

Let’s face it: Work can be exhausting. Even employees who love their jobs sometimes get overworked or deal with personal stresses that bleed into their workdays. As a small business owner, it’s on you to keep your employees motivated both when employees are feeling driven and when they are not.

An inviting office space helmed by a respectful, supportive, transparent leader is a great start. So too are opportunities for employees to grow and earn incentives. Flexible scheduling can be especially helpful, as some employees simply work better outside the traditional hours of the nine-to-five workday. Perhaps the most important thing is to address your employees’ wants and needs. This way, your team appreciates you and feels more motivated to work for you.

7. How to appreciate employees

Although the first Friday of every March is Employee Appreciation Day, you should consistently go out of your way to appreciate your employees. After all, when employees feel seen, they’re more likely to stick around and do their jobs well.

Where employee recognition initiatives regularly shout out your team, employee appreciation ideas are bigger once-in-a-while gestures. They can include happy hour with the team, remote meal deliveries that you pay for, gift cards, or group chair massages. These occasions can function as employee gifts, which employees do appreciate.

8. How to manage remote employees

Remote work means a lack of in-person interaction and, often, an abundance of distractions. It also eliminates casual office conversations that help improve employee performance the very moment potential issues arise. In other words, it’s missing a lot of what makes offices special. But it’s also here to stay, for now, given the COVID-19 pandemic, and, as a small business owner, part of your role is to effectively manage your remote team members.

Doing so is a matter of setting expectations, implementing cloud-based project management and time tracking software, and conducting regular employee one-on-ones. You should also make up for the isolation that can accompany remote work by carving out social time with your entire team. Arrange for video conferencing happy hours or, if feasible, in-person events. No matter what, make yourself consistently available so that, even from a distance, your team remains connected.

With these tips, you’ll manage — and manage well

No two small business owners have quite the same management style, but the most successful leaders prioritize all the same things. Teamwork, goal-setting, employee development, transparency and employee motivation, recognition, and appreciation – it’s all part and parcel of great employee management. So too is constantly figuring out how you can improve as a manager, and the SmartBiz Loans® Learning Center has plenty of employee management resources. Just as you’re there for your employees, these resources are here for you.

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