This is the first in a series of three articles addressing employee management. 

Large corporations have entire departments dedicated to employee management, but I am guessing that most of your businesses don’t have the resources to hire an HR manager, let alone an entire department.

And while it’s great to run a streamlined operation, the reality is that managing people isn’t easy. Many business owners don’t possess all of the knowledge that they need to get the most out of their teams.

Over this and the next two articles, we are going to cover the basics of employee management.

One of the biggest problems for small businesses is ineffectiveness on the part of their employees. Technology has only made this problem worse – between surfing the web, poking around on Facebook, and playing with smart phones, your employees have plenty of easy opportunities to waste time.

What can you do to keep them focused and on task? Below are three ideas.

  1. Evaluate employees based upon results, not time spent. Part of the problem with employee productivity is that many employees don’t have a sense of urgency. They know that, as long as they show up on time each day and sit at their desk, they can count on receiving their paycheck every two weeks. Don’t let this mentality seep into your workplace – demand results from your employees. Give them tasks, monitor their performance, and hold them accountable for results. This approach will result in a more productive mindset for your team.

  1. Break up the monotony by scheduling “pace-changes” throughout each week. Many offices quickly adopt a daily routine. It often starts with a morning meeting, before giving way to individual or team-centered work. And while there is certainly nothing wrong with establishing a routine, it is easy for a routine to turn into a predictable and, frankly, boring workday. So look for opportunities to change things up – vary your meeting times, hold an office-wide lunch, or whatever it takes to keep each day feeling as fresh as possible.

  1. Publicly praise productive employees. Whether they act like it or not, your employees want to please you. It’s human nature – we’re wired to succeed, not to fail. Turn this into an advantage by deliberately complementing employees who are consistently productive. Not only will you encourage them to “keep it up”, but you’ll encourage their co-workers to follow suit.

Motivated employees are an invaluable asset to your business. Unmotivated employees are an anchor holding you back. As a manager, keeping your employees motivated is one of the most important tasks you have.