Most small businesses operate a tight ship. They manage overhead expenses and watch cost of sales to stay on the credit side of the ledger. But when you’ve reached a point where you cannot see any further ways to reduce costs, there could still be an opportunity to increase your profits through increasing productivity. Probably the most important way managers can increase productivity is in the way they manage their people. There are a number of practical steps you can take that revolve around your people management systems.
• Select the right person for the job
• Give them clear directions and clear systems to direct their work processes
• Manage the differences between your team members to get the best out of each person
• Don’t ever think that they will put in the same effort that you, as the owner, will
• Document clear performance indicators so everyone understands just what’s expected of them
Select the right person for the job
Granted it’s always tough to really be sure in an interview, it’s still the best tool you have. Consider questions such as whether the applicant fits in with your current team; are they the sort of personality you want to work with; do they seem to have a good work ethic; do they have enough experience and if not will they train up easily; do they have a history of useful contribution in their previous workplaces? Also prepare your interview questions carefully – it is quite legal to include technical questions and even practical exercises to assess skill level or capability. Ask questions about what they might do in a situation where a certain kind of problem arises. You’ll be able to assess better whether they’re a fit for your business. Settling for someone you’re not sure about can be costly on your time and money, not to mention on team morale, if they don’t work out.