14 Tips for Managing Staff in a Small Business Effectively

Managing of staff

No matter how small your business is, you will need to have the staff to help with daily operations. One of the most challenging jobs you have is to find great employees and manage them effectively. You need your staff to be loyal and thorough in their work, and you want them to strive to do the best possible job. Take a look at the following tips for managing staff in a small business.

1. Hire the Best People for the Job

If you are new to managing staff in a small business, you may not realize exactly how important to have the right people.

No matter what position you are trying to fill, it is essential that you hire the best person for the job. When you interview candidates, ask why this person wants to work at your business and what interests he or she have that tie in with what you do. 

When you hire people who share your passion for what you are doing, they are more likely to be engaged, motivated, and loyal.

Make sure that prospective employees also have the skills necessary for the job, and check references. This will give you valuable information about the candidate before you hire him or her.

2. Communicate Expectations and Responsibilities Clearly

An important tip for managing staff in a small business is to make sure that you are clear in your communications about their job responsibilities and what you expect.

You should never take anything for granted because what seems obvious to you may not be obvious to someone else. 

To avoid any miscommunication, keep lists and procedures in a place where it is easily accessed. For example, if there is a particular way you want someone to dress, make it clear upfront.

If you expect a job to be completed by a deadline, make that clear as well. People work well when they know where they stand, and clear communication is the key to making this happen.

3. Offer Training as Needed

If you switch to new software to run your business, or if any tasks you assign require skills that your staff may not have, you need to offer training. You can avoid challenges with managing staff by giving them the skills to do the job effectively. 

You can bring in an outside expert to train the staff on how to use the software, or you can have a lunch meeting where you go over policies or procedures.

If you have an employee who is particularly good at a particular task, you can have that person help others develop their skills.

There are different ways of offering training, but you need to make sure that your employees have the tools they need to do their jobs well.

5. Acknowledge a Job Well Done

Nothing motivates employees more than an acknowledgment that they have done a good job. This is the key to managing staff. You should always say thank you and let employees know when they have done their jobs well.

Another way to acknowledge staff is by offering a casual dress day or having a special lunch. There are many different ways to acknowledge a job well done, and doing so will boost employee morale.

Read also: Why Managing By Influence Is The Only Skill Every Manager Needs

6. Lead by Example

If you want your employees to come to work ready to tackle anything that is thrown their way, you had better be coming in with the same attitude.

The reason to hire employees is to make your small business run more efficiently, and you need to remember that nobody will ever care about your business more than you do. 

Even if you are new to managing staff, come into work with a positive attitude and treat others with respect. Your employees are more likely to follow suit. If you expect your employees to dress in work attire, you should not come to work in jeans.

The fact that you can do it doesn’t mean you should. If you want to create a positive work culture based on motivation and respect, remember that it starts with you.

7. Don’t Expect More Than You Hired an Employee to Do

There are some people who always go the extra mile, but you cannot expect that of every employee. When you manage staff performance, judge them on the job you hired them to do.

For example, if you hire someone to do filing and answering phones, you should be content if they are doing that well.

If you want to add responsibilities or change his or her role in your business, you need to have a meeting and communicate your new plans.

8. Become Good at Delegating Responsibilities

In your approach to managing staff, you need to learn how to delegate. The reason you hire employees is that you can’t do everything by yourself or you lack the skills for a particular aspect of your business.

If you hire someone to answer the phones, let them answer the phones. Show the employee that you have confidence in his or her ability to perform well. 

It can be difficult to let go and allow employees to do what you have hired them to do, but you must learn to do so or they will perceive it as a lack of confidence in them.

That will lead to poor job performance and further frustration for you. Make sure that you remember why you hired your employees in the first place, give them the tools to do their jobs effectively, and allow them to do their jobs.

9. Remember That Your Staff Has a Life Outside of Work

When you own a small business, you are never off the clock. However, you need to be aware that this is not the case for your employees. Make sure that you aren’t calling or emailing them outside of work unless there is an emergency. 

People become burned out if they don’t have a mental break, and allowing your employees to live their lives outside of work without work-related communications will allow them to remain positive and ready to come in each day and get their jobs done. Save those communications for a crisis.

10. Be Clear on Work Attendance Expectations

You should take steps to promote attendance so that you spend less time managing staff absenteeism.

Excessive absenteeism can be the result of a number of factors, but if you have a clear policy and you enforce it, it will reduce the days that your employees miss work.

That being said, it is important that you allow a sick employee to get well. You should have clearly defined attendance policies that allow for sick days, personal days, and consequences for unexcused absences.

When your employees understand your attendance policy, they are less likely to skip out on work.

11. Cross-Train Your Employees

If you have an employee whose job is required for daily activities in your business, make sure that you cross-train other employees so that your business can operate if that person needs to have a day off.

Not only will this ensure that your business can run smoothly every day, but it relieves the pressure from that critical employee if they are sick or have a family emergency and need to take an unexpected day off. 

12. Confront Negative Behavior Head-on

It may be your nature to let a bad attitude slide, but in managing staff with a bad attitude, you really need to confront it right away. If you allow it to continue, it can affect other staff members, clients, and your entire business. 

Start off with a meeting, and ask your employee what is going on. Listen to determine whether or not this person is even aware of how he or she appears. Explain what led you to call the meeting, and work toward solutions to the problem.

After the conversation, you should monitor the employee’s performance and attitude, and expect it to improve. If it continues or deteriorates further, you need to consider letting him or her go. 

13. You Don’t Need to Like Your Employees

Managing staff you don’t like can be difficult, but you need to keep sight of the fact that you didn’t hire your employees to be your friends; you hired them to do a job.

If you have employees who are a whiz at marketing, let them do their job. Keep it professional, and remind yourself why you gave them the job.

As long as you can develop a positive, mutually beneficial work relationship, you don’t have to like your employees.

14. Prioritize Important Tasks

During times when your business is busy, managing staff workloads needs to be a priority. Make sure that you prioritize those tasks that need to be done first so that your staff understands what needs to be done.

It is your job as the leader to create a rational plan, and your employees will rise to the occasion when they have this kind of guidance.

What is your thought on how to manage staff in a small business?  Please leave your comment in the box below


  1. Excellent advice!
    Short, Simple and Straightforward.
    Thank you very much for sharing this publicly.
    Tan Blondin
    Small Family run business in Guernsey

    1. Hi Tan,
      Thanks for your feedback. Glad you’ve found the article interesting

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