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HR 101 – Maintain Control of your Staff – Part 1

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Please note that this pertains to South African Labour Relations and Best Practice requirements.

One of the biggest mistakes that small business owners make when they employ staff is to make them part of their extended families. Do that and you have lost control from the get go.

Maintaining control of your staff is critical to ensuring that everyone works well together, in the same direction and working towards a common goal. Most importantly, it will ensure that everyone is working to maintain the highest quality of service and quality control.

It stands to reason then that a ‘close eye’ needs to be kept on the staff to ensure that they meet their quota’s and that they maintain a high standard of quality work ethic.

Often consistent and poor conduct or lack of compliance to laid down procedures is a direct reflection of poor management. Usually it means that management lack the relevant skill or that they are unwilling to manage or control staff effectively.

This will often result in issues such as (but not limited to):

• Staff spending hours talking to friends on the phone (irrespective of whether they use the office phone or their personal cellular phones). Time spent in frivolous chatter is actually ‘theft’ of Company time. It cuts into that particular staff members’ productivity time and if there are other employees in the vicinity, it disrupts them as well. In essence it costs the company in time, productivity and in all probability – quality.
• Quality of work. Most often, the first thing that goes when the staff are not effectively managed is the quality of their work. It’s pretty much a case of ‘well if nobody is taking any notice of what I am doing, I don’t need to take care of what I am doing.”
• Another issue that constantly arises when the staff are not managed correctly and efficiently is another ‘theft’ of time. It’s when the employees perform their personal and private chores during office hours. I recently came across a situation where a client’s employee was fixing printers on the side. The client’s printer broke down and despite the fact that one of the employees duties was to maintain the electronic equipment and despite the fact that he repaired the printer during office hours, this employee actually presented his employer with an invoice for repairing the printer – quite a cheek I am sure you would agree.

Next week we will have a look at some more examples of what employees get up to when they are not effectively managed.