Effective people management has a clear and positive impact on your bottom line. Far from a "fluffy" activity, managing your people well can reap rich rewards. Discover six areas that demonstrate the most compelling reasons for ensuring you keep on top of your people management skills.
- Good managers reduce the stress levels of their staff
Better health means less sick days. A recent article in Human Capital Magazine cited Swedish research showing that having a bad boss increases the risk of heart attack by a staggering 60%.
Even if you think this is a bit speculative, think about situations where there is a poor manager: anecdotally we all know people who have taken "mental health days" (or sick leave) because they don't feel up to dealing with "that idiot at work".
Imagine what cost savings and productivity improvements you'll get if you can reduce unnecessary sick leave in your business.
- Having a bad manager leads to higher staff turnover
Research by Australian recruitment firms shows that leaving a bad manager is one of the top 3 most commonly quoted reasons for employees leaving their last workplace. Of course they don't say that in the interview or probably when they leave, but it is what they say to friends and others. And that kind of commentary can affect how easy it is to recruit new staff and even retain existing staff.
Think about how much time, effort and money you invest in training a new employee - you don't want to have to repeat that too often, especially not if you can prevent the reason for it!
- People who enjoy their workplace are more engaged and productive
The definition of staff engagement is that people apply their discretionary effort - in other words they'll do things without having to be told. Now there has been a lot written about the benefits of having an engaged workforce and some of it seems a bit "blah blah blah". The reality is that an engaged employee will volunteer their extra effort which has to make your job as a manager easier.
How good would it be for your business if your life and that of any managers below you have an easier time managing staff? How much pressure would that take off you or your team not having to go around and check that people have something to do. Imagine the bottom line impact if you can get on with what you need to do and feel confident that your team, at all levels, is doing what they need to be doing without needing close supervision. Engaged employees will find the right extra things to do without needing to be shown.
- Good managers address issues before they become problems
One of the hidden benefits of a good manager is that they are on top of things and address them before they get out of hand. A manager who is good at managing people will not allow the small matters to escalate or fester until they become major and disruptive issues. This saves untold time, energy and effort.
Imagine an employee who is a bit lax with completing their customer information forms. A good manager who is aware will observe, comment and correct. If this is left alone where might it go? Important customer information is not available or current and it is embarrassing at best.
A client of mine had an employee who seemed to be pretty poor at dealing with customers. Rather than let it go and see how things worked out, he spoke with the employee (gently yet clearly). It turned out that the employee thought the role was an admin/back office role and he didn't really want to deal with customers. Luckily, such a role was vacant at the time and once he was moved it was almost a match made in heaven. Happy employee. Happy customers. Happy manager.
- Good on target performance means more time producing - and less time discussing, resolving or arguing
Think about how much time you or your managers invest (or lose) in solving problems, listening to gripes and dealing with complaints. Imagine how much better your business would be if this time could instead be focused upon making sales, building customer relationships, reviewing financials, exploring new supplier or customer contracts, or planning your next 12 months.
Time lost like this is what is often called an opportunity cost and it is a hidden but very powerful measure of how well managers manage their people. Effective people managers do not lose large tracts of time resolving matters that should never have arisen in the first place - they get on and do what you pay them to do - which is improve your bottom line.
- Good managers make for happier employees - and happy employees complain less
It's true that happy or well managed employees will seek solutions rather than complaining about issues externally (ie. to a regulatory body). If an employee gets on well with their boss and feels respected, they are more likely to raise a query or concern and get it resolved than they are to stew over it and complain later.
No-one wants to have a complaint lodged with the authorities. Yet it is a well known anecdotal fact that unhappy employees are much more likely to complain than happy (or engaged) employees. Now this does not mean that good managers have carte blanche to do the wrong thing or that there will be no problems at all - what it does mean is that matters tend to be resolved quickly and internally rather than any "dirty laundry" being aired in public.
Regulatory body related decisions are made public and you have surely worked too hard building up your business brand and reputation to risk it being tarnished by that kind of publicity. If a good manager is able to build enough rapport with employees so that they are willing to work together to solve a problem first and that avoids complaints then that has to be a good thing.
Please note that I am not suggesting that genuine issues can be "handled" by good rapport - what I do mean is that there are many issues that have gone to the courts that could (or should) have been resolved at the early stages before they became so traumatic and difficult that an external arbitrator had to become involved.
Your staff are your direct input to product and customer experiences. Treat them well and with respect and they will (on the whole) respond in kind.