KB BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT 68 images AUGUST 2019 Anacquired skill E mployees are idiosyncratic creatures, and when we pour all those idiosyncrasies into a small business, like ingredients into a blender, most of the time we cross our fingers and hope for the best. Well, therein lies the average small business owner’s problem. It requires more than luck to select the right ingredients and blend them the right way to produce a palatable mixture — it requires skill. Many owners gamble with this important aspect of their businesses by settling for seat-of-the-pants employee management rather than acquiring the skills or help to properly hire, train, manage and fire. Successful employee management is a critical aspect of managing for success. It therefore only makes sense that your employee-management strategy should be carefully formulated and executed. What kind of employer do you want to be? Ideally, before hiring your first employee, you should establish what kind of employer you want to be. It didn’t occur to me to do this and instead, like many small business owners, I drifted into my employer role without much planning or forethought. Consequently, I made mistakes. Huge mistakes. One way to determine the kind of employer you want to be is to determine the kind of employer you don’t want to be. For instance, you might not want to lose your temper as a customer of mine routinely did. On one occasion, after the third costly error in his textile screen printing shop in the space of a couple of weeks, he made a general announcement to about 20 employees. In an expletive- ridden tirade, he claimed that he was losing money because of their shoddy workmanship. He then added that he’d lose less money if they all stayed home and he mailed them their cheques every two weeks. I was there to witness the employees cringing under the verbal onslaught. It was very unpleasant. Michael Best considers how an effective employee management strategy could save you time and money Someone once reminded me that every employee is somebody’s doting lover, the apple of a mother’s eye or the hero of a little child. His words struck a chord. These are the threads woven into the fabric of a person’s self-esteem and dignity and, as the employer, you have no right to tear that fabric. There are ways of handling reprimands and other inevitable employee-related problems without humiliating people or undermining their self-esteem and dignity. Leaping out of bed I’d always hoped to create a business that would have employees leaping out of bed every morning hardly able to conceal their excitement at the prospect of another day at work. Naive? Perhaps. For most small business owners, a more realistic goal would probably be to have employees who are not reluctant to get out of bed at the prospect of another day at work. Nobody should be reluctant to get out