What is employee management?
Employee management is guidance and oversight from a manager to help employees meet their work-related goals. Employee management is people-focused and necessitates excellent communication skills. Sometimes employee management is miscategorized as passively observing employees, but it is an active process that requires dedication and skill.
The basics of employee management
The duties and responsibilities of employee management can be separated into five categories:
- Selecting employees: Managers participate in the hiring process to find the best possible employee for their team.
- Monitoring employees: Managers evaluate employee performance and needs through informal and formal meetings.
- Communicating with employees: Managers talk with employees regularly to build rapport and motivate employees to improve employee performance.
- Rewarding employees: Managers provide incentives and rewards to high performing employees.
- Disciplining employees: Managers correct poor work product or behavior as needed.
An excellent manager will participate actively in all of these categories. This ensures the manager knows their employees well and can motivate them to do their best work.
Related: How to Hire Your First Employee
Three practices to start
Your management style will depend on your personality, the goals of the company and the makeup of your team. However, there are employee management practices that any manager can benefit from implementing. Review these three to improve your management:
1. Provide feedback
Make feedback a regular and consistent part of your management strategy. Receiving feedback can occasionally make employees defensive. If feedback conversations are a regular part of the work schedule, employees will be less likely to take constructive feedback personally. Be sure to balance constructive feedback with positive feedback to demonstrate your appreciation for the employee’s work.
2. Set clear expectations
Employees are much more likely to meet expectations that have been clearly communicated. Take time to set clear and achievable expectations for all your employees through individual and group meetings. Post expectations for employees to see and discuss them regularly. If employees are aware of and understand their expectations, they are far more likely to meet them.
3. Use a performance management system
A performance management system is a tracker that records employee goals, performance and expectations. Performance management systems can be very useful for maintaining awareness of all the employees on your team. It can be easy to focus attention on the extremely high performers and low performers while neglecting those steady workers in the middle. A performance management system ensures that all employees receive equal attention.
Employee management tips
There are many ways to manage employees. These tips and characteristics can help establish yourself as an excellent employee manager:
- Provide incentives: Incentivize excellent work with prizes and rewards. This should motivate employees to consistently work hard.
- Model behavior: Model the behavior you want your employees to demonstrate. This means showing everyone respect, remaining positive and doing your best work all the time.
- Prioritize communication: Make an effort to communicate regularly with your employees. All conversations do not need to be work-related. Personal conversations help build rapport and demonstrate to your employees that you care about them as people.
- Be consistent: Avoid favoritism among your employees. Give all your employees a similar amount of attention, and remain consistent in your policies and procedures.
- Practice self-awareness: How your employees perceive you will determine some of their behavior. Keep a positive attitude and model how to recover gracefully and professionally from mistakes.
- Be clear: When providing information for your employees, do so in a clear, straightforward manner. Communicate in person whenever possible, and provide follow-up in writing for employees to review. Allow employees to ask questions for clarity.
- Use positive body language: Body positions that communicate discomfort or aggression unintentionally should be avoided. Be aware of how you are standing or sitting to communicate openness, respect and receptivity to your employees.
- Practice active listening: Active listening shows your employees you care about them. Demonstrate that you are listening during conversations by reacting to what your employees say. Nod your head and smile to demonstrate you understand their thoughts, ideas or concerns.
- Be patient: Patience is a necessary quality for leaders. Everyone learns at a different pace, and everyone has different preferences for working.
- Embrace change: Change is an inevitable part of a workplace, whether it be employee turnover, new software or different work responsibilities. Demonstrate to your employees that you enjoy the challenge change provides, and they will do the same.
- Show respect: Be respectful of your employees by showing you care about them as both employees and as individual people.
- Provide discipline: Sometimes, disciplining your employees is necessary. Do so privately and respectfully, and be consistent in your discipline both in reason and action.
Employee management FAQs
How can I make an employee management system?
There are several options for implementing an employee management system, or performance management system. Some managers choose to create their own on a spreadsheet, which works well for small teams. Others choose to use software specifically designed to manage employees, which can be especially helpful for large teams with lots of information to track.
How does self-management relate to employee management?
Giving employees autonomy and showing you trust them to do their jobs is vital. By setting clear expectations, you give your employees the ability to be autonomous. Provide regular feedback, but structure it as an employee-driven conversation in which the employee takes ownership of their development.
How can I empower my employees?
Well-managed employees are driven and seek out new challenges. Give your employees opportunities to develop new skills and interests, and encourage taking on new challenges with incentives and rewards. Providing your employees with mentoring can prepare them to move into leadership roles.