Someone once said that a manager should follow three basic rules: Do the right thing, do the best you can, and always show people you care. That sounds excellent advice but we know that being a manager isn’t always easy. You have your own job to do at the same time as keeping track of your workforce. However, bad workforce management could cost you dearly so it’s a good idea to check that you’re on the right track.
Here are some tips on Do’s and Don’ts of workforce management:
- Be on top of your brief – it’s important that you’re familiar with your project or the task at hand, whether it is a regular contract for cleaning or needing to service a particular hospitality event. Assess the skills and time needed and then you’ll be able to deploy the best employees for the job. You will then also be able to make the best of the skills of your workers. When managers are well informed, they are more likely to do the right thing.
- Be fair – a top gripe of staff is unequal treatment. Avoid favouritism and make sure you offer the same opportunities to your staff whether it be for overtime, flexible working or a promotion. Workforce management means earning the respect of your staff and being fair is an essential prerequisite.
- Know where your staff are – don’t be caught out by not knowing who’s in and who’s out. Many days will bring unexpected staff absences, whether due to sickness or family commitments. Invest in an absence management system which collects this data for you – even better if you can access it anytime, anywhere. You can then plug the gaps where needed and monitor any repeated absences.
- Break your promises – remember any commitments which you have made to employees and follow through on them. Keep any promises made to staff whether it’s about obtaining protective clothing, increased salary or improving other working conditions. Otherwise you stand to lose your workers’ trust, an important factor in maintaining a positive and happy workforce.
- Get involved in idle gossip – while ‘water cooler’ moments are important for bonding with fellow workers, don’t get drawn into unprofessional chitchat especially if it’s about other workers and the ‘higher ups’. A big no-no should also be ‘banter’ which may be offensive. After all, you are all being paid to work and as a manager you should set a good example in this area.
- Refuse without reason – it takes courage and assertiveness to say ‘no’ to some employee requests – it could be for time off, more money or doing things in a different way. It’s one of the most unpopular tasks of workforce management. However, it’s important to strike the right balance. Be constructive when you need to refuse a request, giving the reasons why not and, if appropriate, offering another time when that request could be considered again.
Workforce management is one of the most important yet challenging aspects of business. Getting it right can be highly rewarding for you, your staff and, ultimately, the company bottom line. Make sure you equip yourself with the best tools for the job – and remember, keep it constructive and stay positive – that’s the best example to your staff to keep them performing well.