Managing employees is tough. Sometimes it feels like it would be easier to herd feral cats, right? Sure, that’s not always the case, but there are probably days when it feels like your employees require way more work to manage than they actually produce.

You’ve got employees showing up late when you need them on time, they’re making mistakes when you need them to be accurate, they’re not putting their best feet forward when they’re in front of customers, and they sometimes seem to do the bare minimum when you’d really appreciate it if they could go above and beyond.

Do you have days like that? If so, you’ll love these three management strategies that will turn the tables and get your employees to step up in ways you didn’t realize was possible.


No. 1: Create And Use KPIs — The big challenge of managing employees is trying to direct them without seeming subjective. It’s hard to tell an employee they aren’t performing when you can’t give them specifics. And sometimes employees only do the bare minimum because the bar is set too low for them.

Create and implement key performance indicators (KPIs) in your company. Identify the most important aspects of each employee’s job and create a measurable number around it. That’s the key performance indicator. Then, every week, review those KPIs. If they’re where they’re supposed to be, congratulate the employee and encourage him or her to continue. If the KPIs are not where they’re supposed to be, train the employee and equip him or her with the tools necessary to accomplish the task.

For example, if you have a team of outbound callers, perhaps set a number of outbound calls each person needs to make every day. Some calls will take really long as they help customers, where other calls won’t take much time as no one is answering the call. Find out the average number of calls they should be making and set that as a KPI. Then, measure your outbound calls against that KPI and review the number with your team.

Give every employee a set of KPIs to work toward, and you’ll focus their efforts on those activities, plus you’ll have an objective baseline number to compare each employee’s performance to.

No. 2: Create A Culture That Attracts — Do your employees show up late and seem unmotivated because work feels like a job? Well, who wants to spend all day at a job? Create a culture that is both fun and hardworking, where your employees are a team who stand shoulder to shoulder in strength and unity.

Help your employees see your company as more than a job but as a place they love to spend their days because they get to help people, solve customer problems, and be with their friends. You don’t have to make your company into a 24/7 party as that’s not going to be productive, but you should create a company culture that your team enjoys being a part of.

Why not start by holding barbecues on Friday nights after the workweek is over or by doing something fun each week to make the days more memorable?

No. 3: Serve Your Employees — Your employees do not show up to work for paychecks. Rather, they are motivated by whatever they use their paychecks to buy. Find out what that is and you’ll know your employees’ motivations. This is a critical piece of information because you can then ask your employees about what’s important to them, and you may even be able to help them get more of whatever that is.

For example, if you find out that your employee is a single parent looking after a couple of school-aged children, perhaps you could create flexible hours for them to work around their children’s schedules. Or maybe you have an employee who is trying to save up for a house — show him or her how selling more to your customers will help him or her save for that down payment sooner.

The secret to effectively managing employees is not about reminding them they have to work in order to earn a paycheck; it’s about identifying the things they’re excited about and showing them how their job allows them to achieve those personal goals.


Do you sometimes get so sick of managing employees that you think about throwing in the towel and going back to work for someone else? You’re not alone. A lot of leaders feel that way from time to time. But these three employee management strategies can help you manage more effectively and easily while creating a company that your employees love to work at.   

Publication date: 7/3/2017

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