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How can managing staff be made easier?


problem solving

It’s a journey

Managing staff is a journey that starts with recruitment, and continues with training and retraining. Throughout their journey they will be rewarded until finally they are either released or they resign. Managing these steps a lot easier if they start with the right foundation and there are regular reviews and updates as someone’s employment progresses.

A sound foundation for managing staff.

An organisation chart should be drawn up, with reporting lines and responsibilities. For each position there should also be a job description and ideally to this should be added the necessary requirements of experience and skills. This forms the basis for recruitment or appointment to a role.

Recruitment or appointment

There are three options available. A business can choose to advertise themselves, use an agency or make an internal appointment. Where there is a shortage of staff of the required type, an agency fee is a good investment. Especially if you compare it to the cost of a failed recruitment. Using different processes for recruitment is useful, testing skills, psychometric testing and interviews being the most common. No matter which you use, endeavouring to ascertain if a person “can do the job”, “will do” the job and “will they fit” the culture of the business is important.

It’s important to comply with employment legislation throughout the recruitment process, and the potential employee made aware of the rules of the organisation. Issuing a staff handbook should set out the expected standards of behaviour. Even though some of the standards may seem unlikely at the time that they will ever be needed.

Fully successful appointments are difficult to make but taking care with the supporting documentation makes ironing out any difficulties that much easier.

Staff reviews

Many managers are uncomfortable holding staff reviews and consequently staff actions go unchecked. Providing feedback to staff is crucial for ensuring the business maintains productivity levels, and good feedback can be very motivating for staff. At the end of a probation period, set targets for both parties. The business may offer to provide certain training and give the employees certain levels of output or changes of behaviour to achieve. Hold regular reviews, regardless of how uncomfortable the manager feels, and then fully document the meeting. The record becomes the means to act should they not meet the businesses expectations set out, either at the point of recruitment or at a review.


The career path of individuals changes as they get older and the tone of the reviews should be sympathetic to the change. Ambitions to be promoted may eventually give way to being content in a certain position. This is fine, not everyone in a business needs to be on the promotion ladder, there is a place for people who perform well and are reliable. The review should check that these people are still content and their observations on the business acknowledged. Don’t take for granted that they will not seek a change at some point. Ensure you identify this, and have a plan going forward, so you don’t lose the person from the business if you truly value them.


There are several reasons why staff may need to be released. If the forgoing recommendations have been followed, then it should be relatively straight forward.

  • Misconduct. At the recruitment stage the issuing of a handbook with the expectations of behaviour sets out the standards required. Referencing this means you can deal with the misconduct, ultimately leading to dismissal if necessary.
  • Non-performance. The targets and agreed actions from the regular reviews form the basis for the expectation around performance. If issues arise concerning performance, reference to the reviews and any intermediate reviews will form the basis for escalating sanctions. Eventually leading to dismissal if an improvement is not forthcoming.
  • Redundancy. The world is an ever-changing place and that a business has to move with the times. If a business cannot retain a person when it restructures, then redundancy is an option. Again, you can take the sting out of the situation if the redundancy policy is in the recruitment pack.

If you need help and advice with engaging your or managing your staff, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your local Business Doctor here