Everybody wants to hire good, talented, intelligent people for their business and then get the most out of them as possible. On the surface of it, this may seem a daunting task, but it doesn't need to be. Below are three very simple, general, universal tips to ensure that every member of your team is working at full capacity.
Maybe the most obvious and important way to make sure all of your employees are doing everything expected of them is to clearly and thoroughly explain to them upfront what those expectations are. Training materials and courses should be prepared for all new hires in any position, no matter how big or small, and this material should cover all the details of the job and its duties. It's also a good idea to give new employees some real-time, on-the-job supervision from a manager or even co-worker, provided the person providing the supervision has some seniority and good productivity of their own.
There's no better way to learn how to do something than by actually doing it, and giving your new employees a bit of a safety net at first will make them more willing to try new things and explore all the ins and outs of their position. A nearby supervisor is also someone new employees can turn to if they have any questions or problems, to ensure they are doing everything correctly the first time in cases where there are any doubts or confusion. Making sure everyone has been properly and completely trained is a necessary first step toward having every member of the team work at full efficiency and become an integral part of your operation.
No matter how well-trained your people might be, it's always smart to keep an eye on what everyone's doing, individually and as a unit. This doesn't mean micro-managing, because that approach will only breed resentment, but checking in on every level of your business just to make sure the gears are still turning is definitely a good idea. That way, any problems will be spotted quickly and can be addressed before they turn into larger, harder-to-handle issues.
Also, regular check-ins will create an atmosphere of heightened accountability. People are less likely to make an error or slack off if they know someone else is paying attention, and while you don't want your employees to be afraid to make honest mistakes now and then, they ought to know that you care enough about their work to pay attention to it and tell them if they ever do anything wrong. As a manager, keeping your finger on the pulse of the company is the core of your role, and the best way to accomplish that is by staying in touch with the rest of your team.
In addition to consistently spot-checking your team's performance, it's always beneficial to make a concentrated effort to talk directly with your employees, and, perhaps more importantly, being accessible to them if they want to talk to you. It's not just enough to make each member of your team essential, they should feel like they are essential, and be reminded of it regularly. If somebody does an outstanding job, tell them so, and do the same if they ever slip up. Express to them that you are paying attention, that their hard work does not go unnoticed, and tell them exactly why and how the job they do is helpful and necessary for the company's overall health. If everyone understands not only their personal responsibilities but also their individual value to the company, they will be better equipped to do the best job they can at their job.
And if they know they have a someone in management to whom they can turn if they need assistance, have concerns, or want to make suggestions, this, too, will make them feel important and valued. Keeping the lines of communication open will add transparency and, in turn, increase efficiency and productivity. But most importantly, it will motivate your employees to bring their A-game every day, because they will all have a deeper appreciation of their own functions and contributions to the team.
Give your employees all the tools and knowledge they need, and then pay attention to and stay in contact with them to be sure they're using those resources in the most useful, productive ways. It may sound overly simplified, but it is nevertheless a sound strategy for making every employee an essential piece of the puzzle.
Matthew Derman is a Pennsylvania-born, Boston-educated writer and customer service specialist. He currently works at Repsly as a customer success manager, focusing on supporting customers, and is a regular contributor to several blogs. He is a comicbook enthusiast, amateur comedian, and dedicated dog owner.