It’s been said that the scariest phase of running your own business is taking on your first employee. Employee 2 is a doddle, employee 1 is the huge challenge! Obviously when you’re taking on your first employee you will take huge care about choosing the right person, the right experience, the right attitude, the right qualifications. Unfortunately, even the best candidates can have their own personality quirks that make them challenging to manage on a day to day basis. Not all of these quirks will be deal breakers that make you want to dismiss them, but nevertheless they can begin to consume large amounts of your time and head space, head space that would be better placed focusing on growing your business.
Here are 3 simple things that you can do to make the management of your first employee more straight forward;
- set written expectations
- SMART objectives are often thought of as a bit old-fashioned, but they are a good discipline to adopt, it’s much more difficult for someone to say they didn’t understand what you wanted from them if they have a SMART objective which is written down
- you must write down your expectations. Effort expended in making sure your employee is clear about what you need is time and effort well spent; it’s much less likely to result in your employee delivering something you didn’t ask for.
- prioritise your requests
- know which of the things you are asking for have to be done in a particular way and which have to be done by a particular time but the way in which they are done is less of an issue. It is the former that you need to focus your efforts on
- being flexible about things that are not set in stone, makes it easier to lay down the law on the non-negotiable areas of the work. You come across as reasonable but as someone who knows their own mind.
- tackle issues as soon as they raise their head
- if you see someone do something inappropriate or say something inappropriate and do nothing, you have condoned that behaviour. It becomes much more difficult to address after the fact.
- if the employee is showing resistance to addressing the issue, document the issue and create a written improvement plan that is time-bound.
- make sure that you follow-up the plan at the allotted time. If the employee has sorted the issue, the problem is solved. If the employee has not sorted the issue you are potentially heading for termination of employment.
Just because someone is difficult to manage does not make them wrong for your business, but if you choose to keep them it is you that will need to change the way that you manage and accept that you will need a shift in perspective and a lot more patience.
Are you thinking about taking on your first employee? When you employee someone they get 91 rights, 78 day 1, 14 before you employ them and 3 after you have terminated them. Take some advice about structuring the employment to protect yourself before jumping in with both feet.
Metis HR is a professional HR Consultancy based in the North West of Englandsupporting clients across the country. We specialise in providing outsourced HR services to small and medium-sized businesses. Call us now on 01706 565332 to discuss how we may help you.