I remember my first Line Manager role very well. I was 22 years old and put in charge of a team of Customer Service Advisors at a busy logistics depot near Heathrow.
Along with dealing with the day-to-day customer calls and queries, I also had to recruit, performance manage and ultimately dismiss employees. I was one of the lucky ones because I had just been through a Graduate Trainee development programme in the previous year. Other new managers aren’t so lucky.
Nonetheless the challenge of managing a team of people amid all the employment legislation was mind boggling. In fact, one of my colleagues once said that ‘doing the job is easy, it’s the people that cause the most headaches’. I think this probably rings true for a lot of managers and business owners.
Getting to grips with the HR side of any business can not only keep you out of a tribunal court but also build an effective, motivated team that ultimately gives you better results. Surely, that’s what we all want! According to the CIPD’s ‘People Skills: Building ambition and HR capability in small UK firms (2017)’ evaluation report, ‘There is a growing body of evidence to suggest that ‘‘better’’ HR practice in SMEs is also associated with enhanced performance.’
My advice for any manager or business owner that wants to focus on their people would be this:
- Get the legal bits right – know that you are compliant with employment legislation
- Think about why someone would want to work for you and your business – what’s in it for them?
- Recruit for attitude and then induct for the job and Company culture
- Have the difficult conversations – don’t put them off as they could lead to bigger issues
- Celebrate, congratulate, say well done!
- Find out what motivates your team – tap into what makes them tick
- Develop your team – know that development doesn’t just happen on training courses
- Think about the future – what if someone leaves? Who will replace them?
So come on, what are you waiting for? Roll your sleeves up, grab that cuppa and get thinking about what you can do today to ensure that your people are the key to your success! Good luck!