Off On The Right Footing: Starting With Your Staff As You Mean To Go On

When you first started your business, it’s unlikely you thought you would reach the giddying heights of employing someone else. Heck, you didn’t even expect to make more than ten sales on your entire entrepreneurial journey. But, here you are with more work than you can handle, and money spare to take a team of staff on board.

It’s an exciting time, but it can be overwhelming. After all, you never intended to be a boss when you started this thing. You haven’t prepared yourself for the role, and anyway, you’re not sure you want the power.

Well; tough luck. If you want your business to continue to grow, it’s crucial that you expand your one-person team. How else can you meet the demand of all those incoming orders? It’s time to put your boss head on and get down to business.

Of course, there’s more to it than that. If you’ve never considered yourself ‘boss material’ before, you may need to put in a little work here. After all, running a team of staff is nothing like riding a bike. It doesn’t come naturally to everyone. What’s more, starting on the wrong footing could make it impossible to straighten things out later. Hence why you should do your research before embarking on any interviews. And, you should continue to study your role once you’ve chosen your team. That first day in the office will make or break your position in this company. So, you NEED to get this right.

It should go without saying that everyone employs different management methods. And, all these come complete with differing results. Some individuals go in hard and heavy, while others take a more friendly route. Small things like these are entirely down to how you want to operate. But, there are points that most bosses seem to agree on, and we’re going to look at them here.

1.Be the boss, not the best friend

Any boss worth their salt will tell you that you aren’t there be anyone’s best friend. If you’ve never gotten into the management mindset, you may make the mistake of hiring people you like, rather than the best candidates. But, this isn’t a popularity contest, and these people aren’t your friends. So, you should reassess that thinking straight away. ALWAYS opt for the best candidates, over the people you can relate to. Of course, that’s not to say you should employ people you can’t stand. But, it’s crucial you find a middle ground, so that it’s easier to put boundaries in place.

And, what are those boundaries? In truth, this is not an easy issue to get right. But, simple things like losing control on work nights out, or gossiping, could lead you to real trouble. This is especially the case if such gossiping is about other staff members. To avoid that, draw clear lines. Don’t be afraid of chatting with staff, but keep it neutral. You can go on that night out, but have a few drinks and leave early. It may not be how you would usually operate, but it’s crucial if you want to gain respect.

2. But, don’t be a monster

At the same time, you need to work hard at showing staff you aren’t a monster. See; we told you this wouldn’t be easy. While you shouldn’t spend hours of your day chatting with everyone, you do need to let them know that your door is always open. And, that should be the case for both work and personal issues.

You should also speak to and treat your staff with respect if you want it back. Barking orders might work for some people, but it rarely makes for a happy workplace. And, if your staff aren’t happy, your company will suffer. In extreme cases, you could even lose top employees this way.

And, of course, you need to show your team that you care about their wellbeing. You can do this by turning to companies like Equify L.L.C. who can take care of your insurance needs, and ensure you meet necessary standards. It may also help to allow staff time off if they need it. If someone’s stressed about moving house, give them an afternoon off to get themselves sorted. These few hours won’t make much difference to you, but they’ll help staff see you in the best light possible.

3. Always be clear about the job role

You should also be clear from day one about the job role. If you come to expect more than staff think their contract covers, it could lead to breakdowns later on. To make sure that doesn’t happen, get the job role and responsibilities straight in both your and their heads. Make sure they know what you’ll expect from them, and be sure that you don’t forget it.

The best thing you can do here is to outline all expected tasks in employee contracts. This ensures that you have a list to reference, and also a backup if employees fail to fulfil their duties. Of course, you can always add to this list down the line. But, you should offer incentives for each addition, and make sure staff agree. In most cases, those incentives should be additional money. After all, you’re expecting more work. Equally, something like a changed job title, or a private office could work here.

Either way, communication is key. You all need to know where you stand to avoid arguments. And, you need to remember to brief employees on every aspect of their role from the first day. Make sure, too, not to grow neglectful here. When work starts to flow, you may simply hand a job to someone without thinking. But, if they don’t believe they should be doing that work, you can be sure that this will breed resentment. As such, it’s also crucial you take time over job delegation. Sit down each day and work out who does what, and where each job would be best suited.


4. Treat training as a priority

You’ve hunted for jobs in the past, right? And, if you’re anything like most of us, mention of training really sold you on a position. After all, we all like to be prepared for a job as best we can. On top of which, in-job training is often seen above qualifications these days. So, if you say you’re going to train your staff, it’s a pretty big deal. And, it’s likely they applied for the position because of that promise.

But, there are far too many managers out there who fail to live up to their training assurances. Things may start well, but courses go unfinished, and employees step into roles they aren’t ready for. Sound familiar? We’ve all been there. But, that experience should ensure you don’t do this to your staff.

You know what it’s like on the other end now. Things get busy, and you forget you even said you’d offer those training courses. But, if you want to achieve full employee satisfaction, you need to treat that training as priority. Don’t just let things slip once the basics are in place. Keep building and developing with your staff. Offer refresher courses, and additions like first aid training. Each training benefit will make your team that bit happier.

Often, managers fail here because of costs involved. And, yes, it is cheaper to do without. But, you shouldn’t look at the issue that way. Instead, consider those courses an investment. After all, your staff will be better able to perform their role in the end. You can make sure that investment is worthwhile by included clauses for expensive training courses. It isn’t unusual for staff to have to stay on for at least six more months to cover costs. That way, you can be sure they don’t take their experience elsewhere, and gain the full benefit of your efforts.

5. Have workplace rules from day one

Workplace rules are always tricky. Often, you won’t even know they’re necessary until an incident has occurred. But, it might be worth laying some foundation rules before anyone gets started. That way, staff will enter your workplace with those rules in mind. That’ll leave you less likely to experience teething issues.

Common office rules may include –

  • Keep your desks clean
  • No foul language
  • Be respectful of other people’s property

And so on. You may also want to put in place more specialized systems. For instance, you could develop a signing in and out rule for your stock cupboard. All the better for keeping track of equipment.

Whatever rules you put in place, you should think about them before your team arrive. And, this doesn’t have to be a set-in-stone list, either. You could use a blackboard to display your list and emphasize that it’s a work in progress. Then, you can add as you need. You could even encourage your team to come to you with suggestions. This may be the best way to achieve a workplace everyone is happy with.