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Managing employees and having strong leaders are core structural aspects of any successful business. Employees are the task force behind every step forward. Ensuring that their needs are met will ensure your company progresses consistently and effectively.

“Good management is the art of making problems so interesting and their solutions so constructive that everyone wants to get to work and deal with them.”—Paul Hawken

Being a manager is tough, and knowing how to manage employees is not always a walk in the park. Employees may be professionals in their field, but they are unique humans with personal preferences, incentives, and challenges.

Attending to their needs and supplying them with adequate resources will not only keep them happy and motivated, but it will make your job as a manager much much easier.

Here are some helpful tools and tricks you can use for building and managing a strong team of happy employees.

Defining employee management

Employee management means motivating and helping your underperforming and high-performing employees perform to the best of their abilities and achieve your business goals. In simple words, it means to help underperforming employees to perform best and prevent the top-performing employees from underperforming.

There are many angles to what employee management can look like daily. The role is similar to a typical HR job. It’s defined by various measures of employee evaluation, discipline, monitoring, communication, assignment delegation, and recruitment.

Employee managers are perceived as the “parent” of their team. They provide performance reports, onboard new members, and manage rewards or incentive programs. They also enforce company policies and deal with any important employee matters.

Managing a team of people in any capacity can present unique challenges. Managers need to prepare themselves for these to supervise their employees effectively.

Employees are more than just workers. They each have their own habits and temperaments that the manager will need to be aware of to provide support and supervision.

Being an employee manager is a complex undertaking that requires a distinct level of emotional awareness and professional know-how.

Importance of effective employee management

Effective employee management is vital to the productivity and efficiency of any work environment. Without a knowledgeable and competent leader, employee output can become scattered and inconsistent, making the company's success more difficult to achieve.

With a growing number of remote workers across the globe, the need for competent employee managers has become greater. Workers belonging to the same company may be dispersed all over the world. Yet still, they require frequent communication and project delegation from a manager.

From a productivity and morale standpoint, proficient employee managers are invaluable to companies of every scale. If they feel adequately supported, employees are far more likely to work harder and with more drive. Plus, their incentive to aim higher will be more consistent.

An adept and intuitive employee-manager continually invests in themselves and their workforce. By leading by example and creating a positive work culture, they will also help to keep company costs down. The expense of staff turnover can be exhaustive on so many levels. But with proper management practices, staff loyalty and satisfaction levels have no reason to falter. Essentially, employee managers fill a role that is essential for workplace success.

Tactics for improving employee management

When dealing with people, you never really know what your day will look like. From office relationships to poor work performance, you need to equip yourself for various situations and predicaments that may arise.

Here are some popularly used tactics for managers who want to know how to how to manage employees in the most successful, productive way:

1. Design open communication channels

Open communication between employees and supervisors is key to a healthy company dynamic. Your employees need to feel comfortable bringing up important topics (such as problems in their personal life affecting their performance, work grievances, or inappropriate office behavior) with you. It would be best to make that process easy and accessible for them.

2. Ask for feedback

Your employees will come to trust and respect you a lot more if they feel comfortable giving you feedback on your policies and approaches towards managing them. You won’t always know that something you’re doing is bothering or inhibiting an employee’s performance unless they tell you that option needs to be accessible.

3. Employee recognition and rewards programs

Positive reinforcement for good behavior, performance, and work ethic can go a long way. By incentivizing employees to aim higher with a competent rewards program, you can foster a sense of motivation and desire for better output within the workplace.

Rewards programs and recognition for high work performance will stimulate your employees to try harder and boost workplace morale. Both of which are extremely important for a healthy employee-manager relationship.

4. Create a supportive environment

Employees in a supportive environment will thrive, and it’s up to you to create this environment. Offer support with every facet of work, and follow up on your offer. Simply saying you can help is not enough. You need to step in and assist wherever possible actively.

Good managers lead with patience and encouragement and have a hands-on approach, making employees feel supported and capable. This leads to an increase in productivity and an excellent work culture.

5. Encourage growth

Encouraging growth isn’t only good for employees. It’s good for business too. Good leaders are innovative and always ready to learn new things, and you can pass this on to employees.

Whether it’s encouraging the attendance of training courses, improving their skill sets, or promoting the idea of studying further, promoting growth creates a stronger, more capable team. If you show employees you’re constantly learning, they’ll be inspired to grow and tackle new challenges too.

6. Be an active listener

There’s a difference between hearing and listening. Employee management requires that you truly hear what your employees are saying and act on it. This means that when employees speak, you respond accordingly and act on what they’ve said.

You don’t have to agree with what they’re saying or do exactly what they ask, but you do need to show that you’ve heard them properly. If they see you responding to what they’ve said, they’ll feel confident talking to you about even the most difficult topics.

7. Set goals and expectations

Having clearly set goals and expectations give employees something to aim for. If these parameters are not defined, team members can easily become rudderless and isolated. A lack of goals also leaves employees feeling unsure of their purpose and can lead to a loss of motivation.

With a unified purpose, teams are inspired to work together and achieve an aim. Goals create a feeling of cohesiveness as employees collaborate to reach a milestone.

8. Build trust and aid employee development

In any team, trust is important. Employees need to trust that their leaders can assist and guide them in the right direction. Plus, they need to know that you trust them to do the job and not micromanage them.

Trust also aids employee development, as employees feel secure in the workplace. This equips them with the tools needed to develop new skills and a greater understanding of the business.

9. Maintain transparency

As the leader, it’s up to you to always practice transparency. Avoid withholding information and never lie to employees. If the truth comes to light, you’ll jeopardize your relationship and leadership position and lose your team’s respect.

Knowing how to manage employees is understanding that honesty is always best, even if it's not wholly positive. Sharing transparent, honest feedback is part of leading a team.

10. Regularly monitor and measure performance

If your team doesn’t know how well they’re performing or where they need to improve, the status quo cannot change. Performance management is an important skill set for leaders, and tracking metrics is part of this. Regular KPIs are ideal for this purpose.

Measuring performance highlights where employees are excelling and where they may need assistance. If this is clearly tracked, you can motivate employees to perform and grow and learn.

Tools to implement for better employee management

Managers tend to have to carry a lot of weight in the office. But there is nothing wrong with utilizing effective tools and software to assist you in holding up your management duties. After all, you are also only human!

1. Communication tools

Communication is the life force of any company or organization. By streamlining your communication methods, both you and the employees you manage will understand what you need from each other while focusing on other important daily tasks. Since the pandemic began, dozens of inter-office communication tools have been readily available. Use these to your advantage.

2. HRMS tools

Cultivating and analyzing a worker's data history can be tedious when executed manually. Cut hours out of your schedule by using HR management tools that help you better understand your employee’s trajectory and manage office payroll and onboarding.

3. Performance-tracking tools

Tracking the performance of the employees you supervise often forms a large part of your role as employee manager. Use performance-tracking tools to monitor which employees are excelling versus falling behind. Allow this information to help with decisions about how to manage employees. It can guide your decisions around promotions, demotions, and other performance areas that may require your input.

4. Project management and presentation tools

Coordinating and executing workplace projects is vital for any employee management job. You need to have a fundamental understanding of who is best for what task. Having a project management tool like Gantt Chart on your side can clarify these decisions and make the organization a lot quicker and easier.

Key takeaways

Managers play a huge role in the success of any large or small business. Being a strong leader takes time and effort, but there are tools and techniques to streamline the process.

Knowing how to manage employees and balance work is a crucial skill, and once learned, it sets team members up for success. If you motivate employees, create an excellent work environment, and build trust, you’ll become an effective manager that leads by example.

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Charli Tanner

Charli Tanner

Charli Tanner is a content champion for a variety of online publications. She covers topics with a strong focus on finance for startups, productivity, management, and a few other topics.