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Human Resources

The Top 10 Mistakes Managers Make

FrankCrum
by FrankCrum on December 6, 2022

Being a manager of people isn’t easy. In order to communicate your company’s vision,
marshal resources, and achieve results, you have to be both tough and compassionate.
In many cases, the primary reason someone is promoted to management is because
of their success as an individual contributor. However, the skills that define individual
success are not the only ones required of an effective leader. Without those extra
layers of knowledge and skills, it is not surprising that some managers aren’t as
effective as they could be.

In the article below, we’ll identify the Top 10 Mistakes Managers Make and share
insights on how to avoid them. Honing your skills in these areas will allow you to
become a more effective manager, handling tricky situations with ease and minimizing
risk to yourself and your company.  

If you would like to download the eBook version of the article below to share with others in your organization, click here

#1 Hiring Missteps

It is hard to find good employees these days. You may think: I’m short-staffed;
I’ll just hire someone and then fire them if it doesn’t work out and get somebody else.
However, that is not a good strategy.

Depending on the position, the cost of a new hire can be thousands of dollars.
Here are some expenses to consider:

  • Recruitment costs
  • Referral or hiring bonus
  • Time spent interviewing
  • Payroll costs
  • Employee salary
  • PTO payout to the worker that leaves
  • Overtime for workers covering during the job search
  • Staffing agency
  • Equipment and time spent setting up
  • Time spent training
  • Unemployment claim
  • Potential legal claim
  • Lowered morale for the rest of the team

In order to avoid a costly mistake, there are several areas you can examine to
improve your chances of hiring the right individual from the start. Before you begin
advertising the position, think critically about the role itself. Ask questions such as:

  • Is this role required or can some of the tasks be spread out among the team?
  • How does this job align with current business needs?
  • Should the job description be updated to reflect changes in the role? 

In order to find the right candidate, it is critical to have the position clearly defined before you begin recruitment. 

Recruitment and Culture

Speaking of recruitment — How about taking a look at internal candidates?
This eliminates many of the costs associated with hiring. Plus, it may allow you
to retain an excellent employee who is looking for a new challenge.

When considering candidates, the importance of culture cannot be overlooked.
Each business has its own set of norms and needs. For example, if your company
is highly collaborative, yet your candidate is used to working alone, you may find
misalignment. Perhaps you find that your candidate for a highly interactive customer
service role is extremely introverted; this may present a mismatch. Or maybe you work
for a startup where everyone must roll up their sleeves and work in an environment
where processes aren’t yet clearly defined. It is critical to validate that your candidate
understands expectations or you risk hiring someone who will not reflect the
company’s values and behaviors.

Interviewing Techniques

Before an interview, review the job description and the list of questions you will ask.
You should have a standard set of questions to ensure consistency across candidates.
Of course, you can probe further as needed based on answers but job-related
questions should be standardized for comparison's sake.

Be aware that you may unwittingly put yourself at risk for a discrimination suit based
on certain topics. Questions about marital or family status, religion, or age can be
problematic. Asking about criminal history or prior salary is illegal in some states. It’s
important to know the applicable laws in your location and remain focused on job
requirements, qualifications, and abilities. Take time to consider how you are phrasing
your questions to ensure you are being as sensitive as possible. Here are a few examples:

  • Instead of asking if an individual has childcare, confirm that they are able to work during the specific hours required. 
  • Instead of asking about previous injuries, confirm that they can lift the specific weight required for the job with or without reasonable accommodation. 

Onboarding and 90 Days 

Onboarding is how new hires integrate into your company. It starts when they accept
the job offer and continues several weeks after their first day on the job.

Orientation is a key step in the process. It allows you to set clear expectations about
the position and it gives the new hire a chance to ask questions and voice concerns.
During this time, you should ensure they have everything needed to do their job. It is
also a good time to offer training on processes and tools. Assigning a new hire to work
alongside a seasoned employee is also a great way to help them get acclimated.

When it comes to employee retention, the first 90 days are a crucial time for a
new hire. You’ll want to have several check-ins and coaching sessions during this
introductory period as they get up to speed on their responsibilities and adjust to your
team and company. You may even opt for a formal 90-day review. Most importantly,
you’ll want to spend quality time with them during their first few weeks to ensure they
are set up for success.

Bottom Line: Hiring the wrong person can be a costly mistake, but taking a thoughtful approach to recruiting, hiring, and onboarding will help mitigate the risk. 

#2 Lack of Professionalism 

Managers are held to a higher standard than other employees. After all, you are a role
model. Those in your organization — from staff members to leadership — expect you
to behave in a professional manner. Here are some of the key areas to explore and
skills to bolster.

Personal Image 

As a manager, you represent the company. As such, your personal image matters in
the workplace. It should be easy to follow common-sense rules like making sure to
bathe, avoiding heavy perfume or cologne, and dressing appropriately.

To take it a step further, consider the message you are conveying with your style and
whether it matches your work aspirations. You don’t have to conform to a specific
style or trend to be appropriately dressed. Instead, use your role models within the
organization or your boss as a guide for what is appropriate.

Gone are the days when a suit and tie are standard workplace attire. Now, offices
tend to be more casual and permissible, placing more responsibility on individuals to
choose proper clothing. Managers should be keenly aware of their environment and
dress for the day ahead. If you’re meeting a client, you’d choose something polished
and professional, whereas, on a casual day, you might choose jeans. In addition to
following your company dress code, as a manager, be aware that you set the standard
for your team.

Another important element of your personal image is the way you communicate. Through body language, as well as verbal and written communication, you project qualities about yourself that can be construed as either professional or unprofessional. Smiling, a firm handshake, and making eye contact shows you are approachable and confident. Reigning in emotions when you are upset demonstrates maturity.

When speaking, be mindful of your tone of voice, and steer clear of offensive jokes or flirtatious comments. For written communication, the end goal is to be clear and easily understood. Select your level of formality based on your audience. Always check for spelling and grammar mistakes, and limit your use of emojis.

Critical Thinking

Employees look to their manager to set an example regarding adherence to company policies, attitude toward upper management, and treatment of others on the team.

As a manager, you represent the upper levels of leadership to employees and sometimes you must make or carry out unpopular decisions. On the other hand, you also represent your employees’ interests to leadership. It’s important to balance these objectives. You can be confident in your ability to work with your employees but also know when to engage with HR such as for a harassment complaint or request for accommodation. Some questions are easily answered in your Employee Handbook, but more complicated issues should be taken to HR.

When you are exposed to sensitive information, your duty as a manager is to be discreet and maintain confidentiality. In addition to knowing what you can and cannot share, you must also be mindful of how you communicate sensitive information.

It all boils down to critical thinking. As an individual contributor, you were responsible
for a singular set of tasks. As a manager, you must be able to see the bigger picture
and different points of view.

A manager’s mindset is that of a detective, searching for answers. The business
relies on you to visualize the workflow of your area, devise ideas for improvement,
and think of the impact on other departments. Here are just a few questions you
should be asking:

  • What makes the organization successful?
  • What processes work and which need improvement?
  • What are the business priorities?
  • What should you focus on?
  • What resources do you need?
  • How can you proceed successfully even without the resources you need?

Time Management 

Benjamin Franklin said that time is money but he didn’t go far enough. Time is worth
more than money. If you lose money, you can make more but you can’t make more time.

As a manager, you are responsible for allocating company resources, including time, to the most important priorities. This often means juggling short-term and long-term goals
with overarching business needs. Before unexpected items pop up and you’re consumed
with putting out fires, here are a few recommendations for managing your time:

  • Do the most important work first
  • Set aside quiet time to review plans and update them
  • Break large projects into smaller steps with deadlines
  • Block time in your calendar to concentrate on a project
  • At the end of the week, make notes for the next week
  • Use checklists or templates to stay organized
  • Track your time to see how it's spent
  • Schedule a few times during the day to check voicemail and email instead of doing so continuously
  • When leaving a voicemail, let them know when you are available to receive a return call
  • Keep emails short
  • Sometimes a quick call or visit is more effective than an email 

To make the most of your work hours and those of your team, a little planning goes a long way. 

Decision Making

Sometimes you have to make decisions under pressure and tight deadlines, without
the benefit of complete information. Although this is likely an uncomfortable situation,
taking a logical approach will make the process easier.

First, take a step back and identify the issue. Gather the facts available. Then, start
running through the pros and cons of solutions and delineating possible alternatives.
Finally, make your best decision based on what you currently know and be ready to
reevaluate if additional information comes to light.

Delegation 

Delegation is an important part of leading a team. It can be extremely beneficial for
employees, as exposure to new challenges provides developmental opportunities.
However, if not carefully considered, delegation can create confusion and even
resentment.

First, consider who has the knowledge, interest, and time to complete the task.
In some cases, a new person with enthusiasm could be better than an experienced
employee who’s overworked or unmotivated. Remember, individuals sometimes shy
away from new tasks because they’re worried they won’t succeed. This can be a
great opportunity to build their confidence by encouraging and supporting them.

When first delegating a task, be sure to provide sufficient training and confirm that
the employee understands your expectations. Keep a close eye on their work,
provide coaching, and make allowances for their learning curve. Once they get the
hang of it, you can reduce your oversight and empower them to continue.

Lastly, you’ll also want to think critically about which tasks to delegate based on their
importance and complexity. Remember as a manager, you are still responsible for the
failures of your team.

#3 Not Knowing Basic Employment Law 

Employment law is complicated. Although there are a few federal laws, many states
and even municipalities have their own regulations. As a manager, you need to have
a basic understanding of these laws, the interplay between them, and when to reach
out to HR for help.

We have highlighted some of the most important employment topics below to help
build your base of knowledge, but be aware that we are only touching the surface.
Laws are constantly evolving so it’s important to stay tuned to changes.

Wage and Hour

The Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor was formed with the
enactment of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. This federal law establishes the
minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor requirements.

Law: Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

  • Minimum Wage: The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, but some
    states and local governments have enacted their own. For example, in 2020 voters
    in Florida approved a constitutional amendment to gradually increase the state
    minimum wage until it reaches $15 per hour in 2026.
  • Overtime: Non-exempt employees who work more than 40 hours in a workweek
    receive overtime pay.
  • Recordkeeping: Businesses are required to keep track of hours worked and wages
    earned, so timesheets or a time clock are necessary.
  • Child Labor: Individuals under 18 years of age are restricted in the hours they can work and the type of jobs they can perform.

Another key concept is that of exempt and nonexempt employees.

Exempt Employees:

  • “Exempt” means exempt from minimum wage and overtime provisions of the law
  • Typically paid a fixed salary, must meet certain requirements for an exemption
  • Can’t pay them less for working fewer hours (limited exceptions)

Non-Exempt Employees: 

  • “Non-exempt” are covered by the minimum wage and overtime provisions of the law
  • Required to keep track of the number of hours worked regardless of the method of pay
  • Pay time and a half for hours worked over 40 in a week

As a manager, it is critical to ensure that non-exempt employees report the hours they work.

Sexual Harassment / Discrimination

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was enacted to protect against harassment
and discrimination in employment at the federal, state, and local levels. The Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency responsible for
enforcing the federal laws and statutes related to the law.

Employment discrimination is prohibited by Title VII for the following reasons:

Law: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act

  • Race
  • Color
  • National Origin
  • Sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity)
  • Religion

If an employee comes to you with an allegation of harassment or discrimination, take it seriously. Refer to company policies regarding the issue and reach out to HR for help.

Disability

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 prohibits discrimination based on
a disability — a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life
activity. Almost every aspect of work is included among the employment practices
addressed in this law. 

Law: Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

  • Disability is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity (such as working, seeing, hearing, walking, breathing, or learning)
  • Employment practices include recruiting, hiring, firing, training, job assignments,
    promotions, pay, benefits, layoffs, leave
  • Reasonable accommodation to perform the essential functions of a job
  • Interactive process

Employers must provide reasonable accommodations to employees or job applicants
with disabilities unless doing so would cause significant difficulty or expense.
Additionally, employers are also required to engage in an interactive process where
they dialogue with the individual about the disability and potential options for
reasonable accommodation.

Examples of reasonable accommodation required under the ADA may include: 

  • Job restructuring
  • Modifying work schedule
  • Acquiring or modifying equipment
  • Reassignment to a vacant position
  • Making existing facilities readily accessible
  • Providing leave under certain circumstances
  • Permitting the use of accrued paid leave or providing additional unpaid leave for necessary treatment

Leave of Absence

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993 is a federal labor law requiring covered employers to provide employees with job-protected, unpaid leave for qualified reasons. It only applies to covered employers: companies with more than 50 employees in a 75-mile radius. Some states are also beginning to develop their own leave programs.

Law: Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

  • Grants certain employees of covered employers up to 12 work weeks of unpaid job-protected leave each year (26 weeks for military caregiver leave)

Leave is granted for:

  • The birth of a child and to bond with the child within one year of birth
  • The placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care to bond with the newly placed child within one year of placement
  • The care of a spouse, child, or parent with a serious health condition
  • A serious health condition that prevents the employee from performing functions of their job
  • Any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, child, or parent is a military member or covered active duty
  • Care for a covered service member with serious injury or illness if the employee is the spouse, child, parent, or next of kin of the service member (military caregiver leave)

Retaliation 

The Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) laws prohibit retaliation—such as punishing
employees for asserting their rights to be free from discrimination and harassment.

Each year the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) receives thousands
of allegations of harassment and discrimination related to disability, race, sex, and age,
but retaliation remains the top charge filed.

Retaliation for raising a claim or concern must be strictly prohibited. You should also
take care to ensure policies are in place and employees are aware of protocols for
reporting discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.

#4 Managing Everyone the Same

A one-size-fits-all approach to management isn’t very effective. Different employees
have different needs, so it makes sense to flex your management style and change
your approach depending on the situation.

Author and business consultant Ken Blanchard developed a model for situational
leadership, encompassing four basic leadership styles. Remember, the key is to choose
the leadership style that will be most effective in the given situation with each individual.

  • Directing: Give instructions and monitor performance.
  • Coaching: When mistakes arise, provide corrections and reteach.
  • Supporting: Provide encouragement for a skilled worker who lacks confidence in a task.
  • Delegating: Minimal supervision is required because the worker has the expertise to work autonomously. 

Situational Leadership in Practice

Newly Hired Employee: You are likely to use a directing style. Since this individual is
new to the organization, they will need specific instructions and frequent competence
check-ins. If mistakes are made, you’d use a coaching style to help develop their skills.

Experienced Employee: With a tenured employee, a directing style is likely to make
them feel micromanaged. After all, they know how to do their job. On the other hand,
if they are taking on a new task, you may need to apply a directing style until they
master it. It is also possible that an experienced employee will begin to struggle,
which could require a coaching style.

Bottom Line: For the best results, diagnose the situation and choose the leadership style that is most appropriate for the situation and person. 

#5 Poor Communication 

The importance of good communication between a manager and an employee cannot be
understated and it all starts with accessibility.

If your team comes to you with questions and your standard response is “not now,”
rest assured they will stop coming and that is where communication will cease. Instead,
you can encourage an open dialogue by maintaining an open-door policy. Taking the
time to walk around and speak with employees in their own environments or engage in
informal hallway chats can go a long way toward building stronger relationships.

Whether you have a daily huddle or weekly departmental meeting, be sure you are
frequently providing training and encouragement to help the team succeed. When
possible, provide your thoughts and rationale for decisions to help keep employees
informed, build trust, and foster an open dialogue.

When providing feedback to employees, it’s important to distinguish between coaching for success versus coaching for improvement. Coaching for success is a proactive measure that provides employees with encouragement and support as they work through challenging situations. Conversely, coaching for improvement is a reactive measure that is meant to correct behaviors or performance concerns such as missing work, use of the internet for non-work purposes, or customer complaints.
Keep in mind that it is important to balance corrective with positive feedback, and never deliver corrective comments in a public setting.

Communication doesn’t just flow one way; it requires active listening by the receiver.
If they know you’ll listen, they will be more likely to contribute and share ideas in
the future. Being receptive to what employees have to say shows that you are truly
interested. It requires putting aside past feelings and experiences in order to focus on
the message being delivered at the moment. Give your full attention and respect to the
individual and let them know you are listening.

#6 Keeping Your Head in the Sand

As a manager, you need to know the difference between a gripe and a complaint.
There are times when an employee is having a bad day and just needs to vent.
But if an employee mentions a very real problem, don’t put your head in the sand
and ignore it.

Complaints

When a complaint arises, an investigation should be conducted immediately so
that necessary action can be promptly taken. This means reaching out to HR in
many cases.

An employee complaint is a sensitive matter for all parties involved. If a complainant
asks to remain anonymous, let them know that may not be possible. Under a number
of laws, confidentiality cannot be guaranteed, such as with a sexual harassment
complaint. On the other hand, you can assure the complainant that you will maintain
confidentiality as much as possible and handle the complaint with the utmost
discretion. It is also important to take all steps necessary to prevent retaliation.

Conflicts

Although workplace conflict usually has a negative connotation, there are also potential benefits.

Pros:

  • Get issues out in the open
  • Stimulate creative solutions
  • Promote healthy competition
  • Encourage growth and change 

Cons:

  • Lower productivity
  • Hurt morale
  • Promote bullying or even harassment

Whether the outcome of a workplace conflict is constructive or destructive largely
depends on the way in which it is managed.

Because employees have different personalities, perspectives, and work styles, it can
be difficult for them to understand their co-workers. Perhaps one employee feels that
they pick up the slack for an employee who is always late. Maybe another employee
perceives that they have more work to do than others, when in fact, they just aren’t
working as efficiently. Even congenial co-workers may find themselves involved in
conflict during times of stress, overwork, or burnout.

While it may seem that some conflicts are trivial, it’s important to address them
anyway. Small issues that are left unmanaged can lead to resentment and a major
crisis down the road. Instead, encourage your employees to speak openly while you
listen attentively. Help clarify roles and responsibilities, clear up misunderstandings,
and offer solutions. By emphasizing mutual respect, you are likely to find common
ground for understanding.

Compliance

Remaining in compliance with laws and regulations helps organizations to avoid
penalties, fines, and lawsuits while offering employees protection from unsafe working
environments and unethical or illegal behavior.

As a manager, you play a key role in maintaining compliance by spotting issues as
they arise, or even before they arise. Being aware of the laws governing employment
and safety in your location is critical. You should also be familiar with your company’s
employee handbook and standard operating procedures (SOPs). And, when in doubt,
reach out to an expert for help.

#7 Poor Documentation 

Documentation is a written and retained account of an individual’s employment events.
The record is factual, not opinion-based, and provides a recap of notable interactions,
incidents, and recognition. It is used to support crucial employment activities such as
promotions, pay raises, corrective actions, or even termination.

As a manager, poor documentation can have serious consequences. If an employee
perceives unfair treatment and files a legal claim, proper documentation will be critical
to the defense. And remember, it sometimes takes months or potentially years for an
allegation to come to light, so maintaining documentation over time is also necessary.

Documentation is especially important in these areas: 

  • Performance Management: Document ongoing communications with an employee
    throughout the year as you set expectations and provide coaching. When you meet for
    a formal performance review, share the performance review document and discuss it.
  • Corrective Action: Corrective action is the act of addressing and attempting to correct inappropriate behavior. If you terminate an employee without documentation,
    you leave the “real reason” for dismissal open for debate. Even verbal warnings should
    be noted and escalated to written warnings to create a paper trail.

When you are ready to document an event, remember to do so objectively. This means
leaving judgment and opinion out of the record. Instead, think of the acronym “FOSA.”

FACTS: What, When, Where, Who
OBJECTIVES: Define expectations
SOLUTIONS: Determine the best course of action
ACTIONS: Consequences

Here is an example of "FOSA" in action: 

  • Facts. Shawn was late for a shift on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday by more than
    20 minutes without calling or texting his supervisor.
  • Objectives. Shawn is expected to be at work on time and to call or text his supervisor
    if he’s going to be late to meet the expectations of the company attendance policy.
  • Solutions: Shawn could get up earlier or leave home earlier to better handle any
    traffic delays.
  • Actions: Further corrective action may happen if Shawn does not meet expectations
    for the company attendance policy.

#8 Minimal Support for the Team

“I’m the boss, now you guys do the work.”

If you’ve known a manager to take this approach, you’ve probably also witnessed
employees’ resentment and frustration regarding the behavior.

As a manager, you are in a position of authority, but don’t let it go to your head.
Good managers practice situational leadership with their teams to determine when
to get involved and when to get out of the way.

Managers have an enormous impact on those they supervise — for better or
worse. For example, a manager who carelessly dumps work on the team without
clear instructions sets them up for failure. Employees in this situation usually feel
confused and demoralized, leading to increased turnover.

On the other hand, a manager that provides the appropriate type of support helps
the team thrive.

Here are some of the ways managers can provide support to their teams: 

  • Analyze issues and come up with solutions
  • Remove obstacles and fix problems where you can
  • Assist employees in reaching their job and career goals

Mental Health

Mental health concerns such as depression, anxiety, stress, and burnout don’t
just impact employees’ personal lives; they affect the workplace, too.

Some of the consequences of poor mental health include: 

  • Increased absences and costs
  • Decreased job performance
  • Strained relationships with co-workers

One way managers can support team members is by looking out for their mental well-being and recognizing when someone is having more than just a bad day. By responding sensitively, managers can make it easier for employees to get the help they need to feel better.

Depending on the circumstance, a referral to an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) may be the right course of action. Other times, implementing a flexible work schedule or promoting work/life balance might do the trick. In any case, managers must be mindful of complying with laws that may apply to an employee dealing with mental health challenges such as the ADA and FMLA.

#9 Lack of Recognition

It’s easy to get caught up in the daily routine and forget to recognize the contributions
of team members. As a manager, this is a serious misstep. In order to retain high
performers and motivate employees toward excellence, recognition is crucial.

What are the benefits of recognition?

If you’re wondering how recognition positively affects the bottom line, it starts with
employee behavior. Recognition demonstrates that an individual is valued and those
who feel appreciated tend to treat customers better and stay with a company for
a longer period. Reduced turnover and improved customer service directly improve
bottom-line results. Best of all, it doesn’t cost anything to say “thank you” or
“job well done.”

There are tons of ways to recognize an employee — from low or no-cost options to
those that are quite expensive. More important than the monetary value, however,
is making sure that the reward matches the employee’s needs and is given with
sincere appreciation.

Here are a few examples of customized recognition:

  • Michelle is interested in learning more about the company and would like to stretch
    herself at work by improving her skills.


    Recognition Method: Share knowledge with her and ask her opinion on something
    you’re working on. If appropriate, she could attend a meeting with you or go to a
    meeting in your stead. You could have her spend a few minutes with individual senior
    leaders to learn what they do. She could mentor a new hire or participate in a webinar.
    You could pay for her attendance at an industry conference.

  • Jake has a large family and enjoys spending time with them. He also loves baseball.

    Recognition Method: You could provide him with additional time off or let him leave
    early one day. You could provide tickets so that he and his family could attend a
    baseball game together.

  • Anna enjoys socializing and likes public recognition for a job well done.

    Recognition Method: She might enjoy getting a commemorative plaque in front of
    others. You could include kudos to her in the company newsletter. You could invite
    the team to a special lunch or happy hour in her honor. Or you could present her with
    a certificate for her favorite restaurant.

Thoughtful gestures can go a long way toward keeping team morale high. Occasionally
bringing in donuts, cookies, or fruit or letting team members leave early can have a big
impact. And don’t forget to celebrate milestones like anniversaries, birthdays, holidays,
and other life events.

Years after a monetary bonus is spent, your employees will remember the way you
made them feel.

#10 Failure to Adapt 

As the business environment changes at an accelerated pace, adaptability has become fundamental to companies that want to thrive, not just survive. Therefore, the ability to adapt has also become a critical skill for managers.

The New World of Work

One of the biggest changes to the workplace in recent years is that many jobs can
now be performed from anywhere. This has presented a new set of challenges for
managers as they attempt to juggle various work environments and schedules.

Considerations differ depending on whether an employee works in-office, remotely,
or in a hybrid program. And the situation becomes even more complex if there are
variations within a team.

Remote Workers

Remote work opportunities have soared post-pandemic, but many companies still struggle to effectively manage remote employees. Here are some of the factors at play:

  • Logistics. Does the employee have the office supplies and equipment necessary to do the job?
  • Security. Are there any additional security protocols necessary to keep corporate data safe?
  • Communication. What can a manager do to build a relationship with a remote employee and stay connected?
  • Culture. How will a manager ensure the employee feels like a part of the team and the company?
  • Recognition. How will the manager ensure that the employee is recognized for their good work, even if they are out of sight?
  • Productivity. How will the manager monitor employee output?
  • Compliance. Are there any unique laws or regulations in their location?

With thoughtful planning and technology, it is possible to effectively manage remote employees. Business messaging apps like Slack and Teams make it possible to chat throughout the day and schedule video calls for regular check-ins.

There’s no doubt that spreading company culture is more difficult with remote workers. If you aren’t careful, they will feel disconnected. Scheduling lunches over Zoom is one way to
encourage social time with remote employees. You might also intentionally design some collaborative activities or projects that can bring people together virtually. To strengthen the bond further, it’s nice to get together face-to-face occasionally, too.

Monitoring productivity might feel tricky at a distance. Without the benefit of seeing
your employee at work all day, you may feel pressure to overly scrutinize their time.
Instead, fight the urge, provide clear deadlines, and focus on results.

Companies that have “work from anywhere” policies may have workers located
throughout the country which means potentially different state minimum wages, meal
break requirements, etc. Particularly for nonexempt employees, it is essential that they
track their time to ensure they are working the correct hours and being paid properly.
Be sure to understand the compliance requirements associated with your team.

The most important thing a manager can do for remote employees is to keep them in
mind. Because they are less visible, it’s possible for them to be forgotten. They could
miss out on recognition, promotions, and other developmental opportunities if you
don’t advocate for them.

Change Management 

Change in the workplace is constant and inevitable, but employees respond in different ways — some are quick to accept change, while others are reluctant.

As a leader, it’s your responsibility to help employees navigate change.
Here are a few key tactics: 

  • Explain the importance of the change
  • Present the rationale behind the change
  • Talk about the benefit of the change and the cost of not changing

In many cases, individuals simply fear the unknown. Helping your team understand
why the change is necessary and focusing on its benefits often eases concern.

Continuous Learning

The business environment is always evolving, and you’ll need to evolve with it to
remain effective. Staying on top of trends and developments will allow you to adopt
best practices for your organization. It will also enable you to develop personally and
build a more fulfilling career. Important lessons can be learned by simply remaining
open to feedback, while others require a proactive approach. Here are some things
you can do to ensure continuous learning:

  • Be willing to accept feedback
  • Value other perspectives and be willing to consider them
  • Turn mistakes into learning opportunities
  • Expose yourself to new ideas: Read articles, attend webinars, build an informal network of peers to exchange ideas, work on cross-functional teams, join professional associations, stay current on industry best practices

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FrankCrum
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
FrankCrum

FrankCrum is a professional employer organization (PEO), founded in 1981 dedicated to helping business owners boost HR capabilities and broaden convenient services and benefits to employees. The origin of FrankCrum dates back to 1981, when Frank W. Crum, Jr. and his father, Frank Crum, Sr., founded the Great American Temporary Service. With a passion for helping small business owners succeed, the company has evolved and grown over several decades.