People Management - Are you good at it?
Like most small business owners, you have limited financial resources.
So I understand that you want to focus your limited resources on activities which directly increase your income. No problem.
The problem is that very often, you are not aware that People Management is one of those priority activities.
Moreover, you do not even understand why your small business needs People Management anyway, since you’ve always thought that this was one of those management concepts designed for big businesses.
The big question is “what really is People Management, anyway?”
First of all, it's NOT you shouting at your employees "I am the boss!" especially in front of customers. Neither is it the mindset that all workers are lazy, dishonest and really would prefer not to work.
On the other hand, the definitions are as many as there are People Management gurus. But here is one that works for me:
People Management or HR Management is how you acquire, retain, manage and develop people for and separate them from your business, such that they help you to reduce cost and or increase revenue.
This definition is simple and clear and paints a picture of an almost unlimited number of functions related to your employees, whether you have one or one hundred.
As a matter of fact, you need to understand People Management functions even if you have no employees. Why is this? If you have any intention of hiring, you are ahead of the curve when you understand and implement People Management principles from the very beginning.
So why does your small business need People Management?
Here is just one reason - Your business needs it to help you become great at performing management functions such as:
1. Finding employees when you need them - and hiring the best ones that you possibly can. Will you use qualifications, experience, skill, personality or some combination of these? Or will you outsource the function to a service provider who looks after these issues for small businesses?
2. Rewarding employees for work - How will you pay them? Statutory minimum wages, market rate, above market rate, between statutory minimum and market rate, by the hour, the week or by performance? Or will you just let them take home products at the end of the week?
3. Retaining great employees - How will you keep them – Above average pay? Offering substantial benefits? Sharing your vision for the business and encouraging them to grow with you? Or will you just tie them to a post until you need them?
4. Helping employees to add value to the business – including training and development programs to help employees do their work better, learn company policies and procedures, as well as any new job responsibilities.
5. Writing job descriptions for every position – will these be backed by performance standards and annual performance evaluations? Or will your evaluations consist of “I ain’t like how you working,hear!”
6. Developing and recording HR policies - Do you have an employee handbook so that everyone knows the rules and understands them clearly? If not, this leaves your company vulnerable if an ex-employee decides he or she has cause to sue you.
7. Developing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) - This is an HR function that is critical to the protection of your business. For example, ensuring that keys and equipment are handled properly, that employees follow the procedures for delivering exceptional customer service, etc, one way or another shows up one your bottom line.
8. Handling grievances and disciplinary matters - an important People Management function which must be well-managed since it has the potential for the most fall out and possible cost to the business. Yes, this is true! Too many cases are lost by employers (even those in big business) because they either did not know how to or just did not handle grievance and disciplinary matters correctly.
9. Coaching an employee - who, for example, is having trouble with company policies, another co-worker or having performance issues. You want the best for your business, don’t you? Then you have to be able to coach your employees to give you just that.
10. Terminating an employee – Do you know the difference in meaning and procedure between laying-off and terminating an employee? If you answered “no” you will be surprised to learn that some businesses, which are bigger than yours, do not know either. And pleased be informed that “go from around me!” as a tool for terminating an employee is really a direct route to a law court.
So if you’re still thinking that you are doing just great without People Management functions or skills, wise up right now!
Your people really ARE your greatest resource and need to be managed carefully and skillfully such that they help you to reduce costs or increase revenue. This in turn will help you put money in the bank for a long time.
Let me know if you have any People Management strategies that works for you...