The business world is tough and, to be successful, managers must take under their control all the aspects of the business. From basic tasks, such as marketing, finding clients, creating a successful product, to more specialized tasks such as creating a personalized logo or finding suitable office space, an excellent manager must know it all. After all, the whole business, the employees, and your products rely solely on your expertise and know-how.
One of the most important aspects of business management refers to maintaining a high level of efficiency at all times. As such, business managers should avoid taking actions that may compromise their staff’s ability or willingness to work. Yet some well-meaning managers, in the name of trying to motivate their staff or remain fiscally tight, end up defeating the very efficiency gains they’re trying to achieve.
Maintaining high employee retention and productivity, worker satisfaction, and motivation is difficult, time-consuming, and requires a delicate approach. So what are the top management mistakes today? How are these mistakes destroying office efficiency, and how can you avoid making them?
Management Mistake #1: Fail to Ensure the Office Has a Friendly, Inspiring Work Environment for Everyone
Google’s extraordinary fun room may seem a stretch, but you get the picture. Sure, your company might not be able to have a special hobby room filled with interesting gimmicks, gadgets, and flashy furniture, but you should still strive to create a friendly, happy work environment. You can do this, or at least try, even if your business is an auto body shop or if you provide paralegal help for law firms. There are endless ways to create a pleasant environment, and many of them begin with your attitude. For instance, simply talking respectfully and courteously with your employees will help loosen up the atmosphere and relieve stress. Avoid losing your temper and never yell, even if you are over the edge. It is not likely to end well, and the work environment will become stressful, both for you and your employees, affecting office efficiency profoundly.
Management Mistake #2: Take away Bonuses and Incentives
This a very unpopular move and, unfortunately, many managers tend to do it, sometimes as a motivational tool, sometimes to improve profits, but just as often for no apparent reason at all. And when bonuses or incentives get withdrawn, the first question to cross your staff’s mind will be, “And what about management’s bonuses?”
Some managers will replace bonuses/incentives with a “profit share” approach to boost the morale and the effectiveness of their employees, but this method does not work too well. In this case, the financial incentives are small and too rare to be motivating, while project related bonuses offer a realistic, direct feedback on their performance and loyalty. Bonuses, even if small, create a personal relationship with the project, and will improve your employees’ confidence and motivation in the long run.
If you want to absolutely decimate employee morale, take the approach which came into vogue during the recent recession: holding the employee’s job hostage as incentive to work extra hours. “I have ten people who would love your job. If you can’t find a way to put in the extra time, I’d be more than happy to put someone else in your place.” This is an inverse-incentive at its worst. Not only is the employee not compensated or appreciated for their extra effort, they feel blackmailed to give it.
Management Mistake #3: Rely on Obsolete Technology
There are thousands of companies that have huge profits, large clients, and excellent customer reviews, even though they use outdated business methods, technologies, and software solutions. Times, however, are rapidly changing, and clients are becoming more and more demanding. They are looking for personalized products, services, and delivery times that can only be produced with cutting edge technology and software products. What’s more, new technology puts you ahead of the competition, helps you reduce costs, improve your staff’s efficiency, and improve data management. For instance, a comprehensive paperless office software package can help your company go paperless in a matter of weeks, reducing downtime and costs, and enjoy improved efficiencies thereafter. There are also other countless tools that can help you double or triple your productivity, often with minimal investments.
Management Mistake #4: Reward the Wrong Things
Pay attention to your employees and their role in the office. Some managers tend to prefer extroverts and ignore the creativity and high-quality output from the shy, introverted employees, or appreciate unnoticed factors like a fast network with zero down-time thanks to the hard-working IT specialist. This bias can go unnoticed for months, but it will add up over the years, creating tension in the office. Make sure you perform a quality assessment of your employees, their role in every project, and reward each of them accordingly. You will be seen as a fair, honest and principled manager, which will help your company tremendously.