Column: Get the best out of your workforce

Debby Brewin, a director at Duncan & Toplis in Grantham.
Debby Brewin, a director at Duncan & Toplis in Grantham.
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Employers should take steps to make sure they’re getting the best out of their staff, says Debby Brewin, a director at Duncan & Toplis in Grantham.

All employers want to maximise performance to provide competitive advantage, yet many business owners are unsure how best to manage people and have difficulty in getting the most out of their staff.

Finding the time to effectively manage the performance of your employees need not be as onerous as you might think. All you need is a user-friendly, time-efficient tool which enables you to continue to motivate employees who are doing well while tackling those employees who are under-performing.

The best way to approach performance is by appraising your staff as often as possible.

In reality, this is usually twice a year. This will provide you with an opportunity to measure achievement, stretch your employees by setting achievable objectives and acknowledge the value they bring to your business.

During the appraisal process you are documenting progress and allowing your employees to develop the required skills, which will have a positive effect on your turnover. The process is also valuable to new employees who join your business as it will enable you to express to them your expectation that all employees will perform to the best of their abilities.

Those employees who are underperforming can be managed using the same process; this avoids any claim of discriminatory treatment later and allows you both to offer appropriate training and support and to measure their performance over a reasonable period of time. Notes should always be taken of appraisal meetings and agreed by employees at the time.

If any employee continues to under-perform, this documentation will provide you with the opportunity to move towards effective performance management and, should the need arise, more formal action.

Here are our five top tips for managing your staff effectively:

* Empower your managers and/or supervisors to assist with this exercise

* Approach performance management consistently and fairly

* Publish your procedures so the staff understand what is expected of them

* Tackle poor performers without undue delay – the longer you leave it, the harder it will be

* Start now to mitigate the risk of a disgruntled employee making a claim. If you feel your business would benefit from professional advice on performance management the qualified HR team at Duncan & Toplis can assist. We can also design and implement a specifically tailored appraisal system and offer support with contracts of employment, staff handbooks, employment law, telephone HR support and advisory service, profiling and aptitude and ability service, disciplinary and grievance advice and redundancy advice.

For more information contact Debby on 01476 591200.