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Managing employees in the workplace is a huge responsibility and one that can have both positive and negative effects on all aspects of an employee’s life.
Learning how to effectively manage is vital for professional leaders looking to transform their work culture for the better.
In this article, we will discuss effective employee management and the impact this can have on individuals and the organizations they work for.
What Does it Mean to Manage Employees Effectively?
Everyone is new to management at some point in their careers. Certainly, the transition from employee to manager or team leader can be very exciting. It often comes with a pay rise, heightened responsibilities, and an opportunity to have more say in a company’s direction.
However, great business leaders also understand the heavy responsibility of managing other people – whole teams in fact – and doing so in a productive, empathetic, and professional manner.
Signs of Poor Management
Too often, managers fail their employees by demanding too much and having unrealistic expectations. This can lead to all sorts of problems for your employees and organization as a whole. Here are some of the signs that your employees are struggling under poor management:
- Employee burnout
- Rising mental health issues
- Increased employee absences
- Higher company turnover
- Lack of employee motivation
- Poor employee development
- Lack of company direction
Let’s take a look at some of these in more detail and discuss how effective management can help combat these issues.
How to Manage Employees Effectively
Managing employees well means putting people first. A people-first approach to management will ensure you manage effectively and this in turn will help your organization thrive.
Address Employee Burnout
Employee burnout is directly related to management style. According to research carried out by AMH International, there is “a significant relationship between burnout (personal accomplishment) and leadership styles (autocratic, democratic, and laissez-faire) toward job performance.”
When people think of burnout they often assume it is self-inflicted. However, this is rarely the case. More often than not it is a build-up of stress and pressure (typically in the workplace).
Employee burnout can be caused by numerous factors, however the most common include: unrealistic expectations from management, unmanageable workloads, unsociable working hours, poor working conditions, and lack of support in the workplace.
Burnout is becoming increasingly common in today’s society, as it is a condition that is caused by persistent stress. LuxuryRehabs.com explains that ‘In modern-day “hustle culture,” the pressure to work harder can be overwhelming. And even if you love what you do, working too much can drain the joy right out of your life. But there’s a bright side—burnout doesn’t have to be permanent.’
As a manager, it is your job to properly address and manage employee burnout so that people can not only function in their job but thrive. There are two ways you can achieve this:
Offer Flexible Working Hours: the traditional 9-5 working model doesn’t work for everyone. Whether your employees have school pick-ups to deal with, a car service booked, or a doctor’s appointment to get to, it can be difficult to fit everything in. Offering flexible working hours is a great way to show your employees that you care about their work/life balance. Choosing when they work also gives employees more control over their job, which in turn increases productivity and satisfaction while at work.
Lead by Example: One of the primary aspects of effective leadership involves leading by example. Whether they want to impress you, are worried about maintaining job security, or want your job one day, your employees will follow your example. So, it’s important that you lead well. A few simple ways to do this include; taking a lunch break, avoiding working late, taking time off once in a while, showing compassion and understanding to others, and having integrity.
According to Forbes, “Leading by example will build up your team members and prepare them for more prominent roles in the future. Ultimately, that results in your team being more productive, more effective and more efficient while feeling more satisfied in what they’re doing.”
Address Mental Health and Provide Support
As a manager, it’s important to be aware of the mental health struggles your employees face and be equipped to manage these in a productive way. Around 280 million people worldwide experience depression alone and this can have significant effects on people’s lives.
Addressing the range of mental health struggles that your employees might struggle with is an important part of being an effective manager, and this can help to mitigate burnout in the workforce. It will be vital for the success of your employees and your organization. Here are a few ways you can address mental health struggles in the workplace:
Create an Open Door Policy: one of the best ways to combat mental health in the workplace is to establish positive connections with your employees. This is best achieved through open and honest communication.
Establishing an open-door policy is a great way to connect with your employees. It lets them know you are available to talk and separates the feeling of ‘us vs them’ that is often prevalent in the workplace, particularly between managers and the people they manage.
Provide Mental Health Support: addressing mental health problems directly is essential for managing your employees well and supporting a healthy, thriving work culture. Providing mental health support in the form of counseling, therapy, rehab, and mental health training days are all great ways to go the extra mile for your employees.
According to The American Psychological Association, “Organizational leaders are well-positioned to influence a positive culture shift and normalize mental health in the workplace. These positive and supportive workplace practices can boost employee mental health, company morale, and your bottom line.”
Help Employees Feel Valued
Employees who feel valued by their employers are more likely to work hard and perform better. If you want to manage effectively, you must help your employees feel valued. This is achieved through all of the points mentioned above as well as the following:
Offer Development Training: properly training your employees isn’t just important for development, it helps keep employees motivated and like they’re working towards specific goals. Providing the right training and development opportunities is essential for this.
According to our article Supervisor Training: Insider Tips for Management Skills Development, “It has been proven time and time again that companies that invest in employee training see an increase in morale and motivation to do the job[…] It’s more important than ever to do everything you can to keep employees happy, make them feel valued, and show them a path forward with your company.”
Prioritize Open Communication: as we mentioned above, leading by example is integral to management success and one of the most important parts of this is open communication. Taking the time to talk with your employees and be honest about the state of the business and the challenges it is facing sends a message that you value their opinions and the roles they play. Involving employees in open conversations is great for encouraging team collaboration, establishing trust, and helping employees feel more engaged in their roles.
Keep Employees Safe: it is your responsibility to ensure your employees can work safely. This means carrying out health and safety risk assessments, providing quality work equipment, and offering the relevant training.
When you are committed to health and safety in the workplace, it shows your employees that you care. Workers are more productive when they can work safely and safe working environments reduce illness, injury, and accidents – saving your business money and protecting your people!
Taking on the role of manager in the workplace is a huge responsibility. It’s a chance to make your mark on a company, to support its direction and growth, and to have a lasting impact on the lives of its employees.
We hope this article has highlighted the importance of a people-first management approach for an effective management strategy. If you prioritize your employees’ needs and take the time to listen to their concerns, you will help shape a team that is committed, driven, and thriving now and into the future.
*This article is written by Sophie Bishop. Sophie is an experienced construction writer with a passion for sharing insights and her experience within the health and safety sector. Sophie aims to spread awareness through her writing around issues to do with healthcare, wellbeing and sustainability within the industry and is looking to connect with an engaged audience. Contact Sophie via her website: https://sophiebishop.uk/.
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Nearly as soon as confirmed cases of coronavirus began growing in the U.S., abnormal became the new normal. Schools have shut down across the nation, employees who have never worked from home have begun working remotely full-time, and dine-in restaurants have transformed seemingly overnight into takeout eateries. At supermarkets, formerly pedestrian purchases like paper towels, toilet paper, canned goods and frozen vegetables have suddenly become hot ticket items. While some businesses have been able to roll with the punches fairly smoothly, the transition has been more challenging for others, resulting in furloughs, layoffs and significant delays to previously scheduled deliveries.
The suddenness of the pandemic has many business leaders in virtually every industry pausing to reflect their supply chain management: Do I have the systems in place to continue business operations now and in the future?
Supply chain management
Perhaps the biggest impact COVID-19 has had on businesses is within the supply chain. Indeed, according to the Institute for Supply Chain Management, approximately three-quarters of firms throughout the U.S. have felt some degree of supply chain disruption, from stoppages to shortages to delays. A poignant example is with PPE and protective supplies. There has been a shortage of hand sanitizer, face masks and latex gloves in both the retail segment and in healthcare facilities, ultimately affecting health care workers who need protective personal equipment to reduce the risk of infection while treating patients with COVID-19.
The federal government has helped to increase the supply of PPEs by invoking the Defense Production Act, which mandates certain high-capacity industries to pause what they’re doing and devote resources to producing life-saving products and equipment. But even prior to the White House taking these rare measures, many within the business community were already stepping up to the plate. As noted by Forbes, clothing manufacturers began mass producing medical masks and protective clothing. 3-D printing firms fabricated print protective visors and liquor brands swapped out glass bottles on production lines for the plastic kind, filling each with hand sanitizing solution.All business owners are to be commended for their selflessness, but in many cases, the precautions and fail-safes they’d previously arranged allowed them to avail themselves at a moment’s notice, without compromising their own abilities to maintain or increase productivity.
Ken Glasser, a global sourcing contracts manager at Axcelis Technologies, told Supply Chain Dive that dual sourcing has made supply chain disruptions easier to manage.
“We’ve been able to maintain a good flow of materials from our sources in China throughout the pandemic,” Glasser explained. “There have been some slight interruptions from time to time but generally, we are getting everything that we need to maintain our production schedules.”
Dual sourcing serves as a hedge against supply chain risk. Should one supplier be unable to provide a specific product or service, a second or third supplier can make up the difference.
Addressing constrained capacity
With “sold out” and “out of stock” signs becoming more common in convenient stores and super markets, the speed with which these fast-selling items reappear tends to vary. Toilet paper proved to be a popular item early on, with many shoppers buying in bulk. Weeks later, stores continue to sell out. Economists point to robust demand and lockdown orders as the prime reasons for constrained capacity, as some manufacturers are working with skeleton staffs or are offline completely.
Retailers have addressed this issue through numerous strategies. Some have restrictions that allow only so many rolls per purchase. Others have cut down on business hours so operators have more time to devote to restocking without having to compete with grab-and-go customers.
Although toilet paper predominantly comes from either virgin pulp trees or recycled pulp, the industry may look for alternative sources to avoid similar issues in the future. In a statement obtained by Vox from Georgia-Pacific, the Atlanta-based toilet paper supplier noted advanced resource capacity planning and optimizing existing work processes has allowed the company to increase its normal capacity by 20%.
Ongoing worker education
The stock market is proof positive as to the enormous impact the pandemic is having on the national economy; nearly every day that passes sees dramatic jumps and declines in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, climbing 900 points on one day, then plummeting over 1,500 points the next.
Employees are also experiencing tremendous instability. The economy lost over 700,000 jobs in March alone, and in a span of three weeks, more than 16 million people filed for unemployment benefits. Some economists speculate the jobless rate could top 15%.
Layoffs and furloughs have resulted from the sudden loss in demand in certain industries. As a result, organizations have ultimately had to improvise and do more with less. This has involved educating tenured staff to handle or learn skills as an accompaniment to their current workload. In some cases, crash course training sessions have been employed in response to the virus infecting existing staff, rendering them unable to be on site for fear of further spread of the disease.
“Workers’ ability to understand new workflows depends on ‘buy-in’ on the part of employers and employees.”
Workers’ ability to retain and understand new workflows is heavily dependent on “buy-in” on the part of both employers and employees. If staff has a genuine willingness to learn, and employers are clear about instructions, disruptions can be minimized.
These efforts and more can help businesses achieve resilience in the face of situational adversity. Peter Bolstorff, executive vice president for the Association for Supply Chain Management, told Supply Chain Dive that organizations’ ability to adapt and improvise in high pressure situations hinges on planning. Readiness entails truly understanding every aspect of the supply chain — in all its forms — to enhance visibility and transparency. Clarity allows decision makers to ameliorate certain pain points and weaknesses so they don’t become major problems.
If nothing else, the rolling impact of the last few months re-emphasizes the importance of expecting the unexpected. If you’re looking to improve existing processes to better plan for the future, USC Consulting Group can help. Whether it’s optimizing your supply chain, assisting with strategic sourcing or helping staff adjust to new working environments through ongoing education, USC Consulting Group is dedicated to empowering performance. Contact us to learn more.
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While competitive salary and benefits are great incentives for workers to achieve and perform at their best, they want something more than good compensation. Employees also desire growth. And one of the best ways to reward particularly impressive personnel is by appointing them to middle-level management — a substantial rung on the journey up the corporate ladder.
Middle managers are aptly named, not only are they at the midpoint of the leadership hierarchy, but they also serve as the intermediary between the staff and senior executives. In many ways, they’re the glue that unites the various personnel components of a business.
At the same time, though, there’s nothing mid-level about middle management when it comes to responsibility. It’s about as pressure-filled as it gets because these leaders have numerous duties that they’re ultimately in charge of seeing through to fruition. The list of obligations is voluminous, including client relations, accounts receivable, administration of day-to-day routines, monitoring performance, and dealing with the various questions and concerns from the people they supervise. In short, mid-level management is not for rookies, nor is it something you can drop someone into and hope for the best.
Pivotal to their success is middle management training. The following details various ideas and strategies you can use to turn mid-level managers into high-achievement leaders.
Get them involved ASAP
Effective mid-level management is not something that can be effectively taught by reviewing a textbook or tutorial. Like a muscle, it has to be worked on consistently in order to grow and get better. As such, it’s important to provide learning experiences for mid-level managers so that they can hit the ground running.
“An experiential approach to middle management training can help them learn from experience.”
In some ways, mid-level management is akin to student teaching. People in this position may come into it with certain ideas about how to run things in various scenarios, but it isn’t until they actually get their feet wet that their assumptions are challenged and mettle tested. In short, an experiential approach to middle management training can help them learn from experience by putting them in decision-making roles right away. These situations can be reflected on in one-on-one meetings at the end of the week to go over how things went and provide constructive feedback for what went right, what went wrong, and what to do next time.
Draw on others’ experience
No matter how long you’ve been in business, you probably employ individuals who have been in middle management positions in the past. These people can be fantastic repositories for information regarding what they took away from the experience. You may want to ask them about what they wish they’d known before they become mid-level staff or a single piece of advice that they’d give a budding mid-level manager. Collecting as many opinions as possible can provide greater clarity and identify certain similarities that may be helpful to relay to the people you’re training.
Stress the importance of relationship building
Of course, everyone knows that they have a job to do when they come into the office or warehouse. But there’s a big difference between getting a job done, and getting it done well. Much of this depends on employees truly desiring to achieve more and be better. This can develop over time by mid-level managers establishing a good rapport with the people they supervise.
According to polling conducted by the Society for Human Resources Management, close to 60% of respondents said the relationship they maintained with their immediate supervisor was “very important.” However, only 40% indicated that they were “very satisfied” with the state of said relationship.
“Nearly 50% of individuals have left a job primarily due to a boss that they didn’t like.”
When personnel are on very good terms with mid-level managers, they may be more inclined to strive for success because they feel as though they’re a part of the team and seek to impress, thus increasing engagement as well as retention. A survey conducted by specialized staffing firm Robert Half found that nearly 50% of individuals have left a job for a different position primarily due to a boss that they didn’t like.
Middle management trainees can plant the seeds for developing stronger bonds by taking a genuine interest in their supervisees’ lives outside of the warehouse, such as their likes and dislikes or what they enjoy doing in terms of hobbies, activities, or just to unwind. This can also help build the camaraderie needed to reduce employee turnover.
Attend middle management training workshops
Human resource groups, staffing firms, and research organizations frequently hold seminars that offer interesting insights on how mid-level managers can become better in their day-to-day dealings. Surveys and polls may be presented that provide context into trends and why a different approach to employee or shop floor management is worthwhile. You may want to encourage trainees to attend these throughout the year to enhance ongoing learning.
Be considerate of employees’ contributions
Regardless of the working environment, stress is almost a given. Things need to get done and there’s only so much time to complete them. Burnout can result. In fact, based on a poll conducted by Accountemps, over 90% of workers attested to experiencing burnout on at least a somewhat regular basis.
Much of this can be allayed, however, by recognizing workers for all their hard work. Whether this is by talking to them one-on-one, sending a thank you note, or calling out particularly good work they did in a company-wide email, workers appreciate being appreciated, which can serve as the energy they need to dig a little deeper and realize that hard work truly does pay off. Mid-level managers should aim to be as congratulatory as possible to be an effective and inspirational leader.
While it’s true that hard work pays dividends, it’s not necessarily about working harder but working smarter. At USC Consulting Group, we empower performance working side-by-side with you and your staff in order to better understand the situation you’re in and what can be done to turn weaknesses into strengths and problems into solutions. Whether that’s by implementing process improvements or offering tips on what to look for in order to put the right leadership pieces in place, we can help you reach your potential through scoping, analysis, design, and implementation.
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Internal and external forces are catalyzing change in the global energy sector. From the development and implementation of cutting-edge operational technology to the widespread embrace of innovative consolidation and partnership strategies, transformation abounds. But few of these factors are as influential as the ascendance of shale gas.
Over the last decade, energy firms worldwide have drastically expanded their shale production, causing great upheaval through the displacement of more traditional resources. U.S.-based oil and gas companies are spearheading this charge, producing more than 40 billion cubic feet of dry shale gas per day, according to research from BP. Demand for the commodity continues to increase across the globe as governments search for clean alternatives to coal. Established shale producers in America as well as those in new markets such as Australia and China may soon have to scale up in order to meet the expanding needs of their customers.
Here are three actionable strategies that energy companies here and abroad can use to maximize their operations and find success in the ever-growing shale market:
1. Install innovative production technology
Small and midsize organizations, not energy behemoths, are powering the U.S. shale revolution. How? By developing advanced drilling technology and techniques that now underpin virtually all shale production. Energy companies that wish to take advantage of the healthy shale market and scale up their workflows must pursue similar strategies. Of course, businesses adopting this strategy are unlikely to uncover shale production innovations as transformative as horizontal drilling or hydraulic fracturing. That said, there are powerful new technologies that can facilitate the optimization needed to succeed in the current energy marketplace.
For instance, according to Reuters, many larger firms looking to expand their shale operations are moving forward with digitization efforts that can augment established extraction methodologies. Royal Dutch Shell, the third largest oil and gas company in the world, has begun putting into place connected infrastructure capable of bolstering its inland and offshore shale workflows. Shell engineers now make use of electronic devices capable of separating sand generated during hydraulic fracturing from useable petroleum product. They also leverage DNA sequencing to analyze rock formations prior to drilling. Earlier this year, Shell unveiled a functioning automated drilling platform that allows engineers to dig wells anywhere from the company’s control center in Calgary, Alberta. This asset is expected to generate as much as $2 billion in annual shale production cost savings.
Energy companies new to the shale space would be wise to follow in the footsteps of Shell. They should pursue digitization because cutting-edge technologies can bolster production while cutting costs related to workflow inefficiency and extraction and drilling failure.
2. Focus on supply chains
The supply chains that power shale production differ from those associated with more traditional energy products. Upstream workflow components center on complex infrastructure development and drilling operations that require all manner of support, including specialized waste management and transportation services. The average shale pad contains more than 20 moving operational parts, all of which must function in sequence and on time to meet production goals, according to analysts at EY.
For oil and gas firms new to the niche with plans to scale, configuring supply chains that support this kind of work is no easy task, and simply creating back-end processes of this scale is only half the equation. Organizations must optimize their supply chains to harness the full power of their shale operations and meet demand. But how?
Facilitating effective collaboration among all parties, internal and external, is one solution. When shale producers and suppliers communicate and plan properly, the likelihood of error falls and the inefficiencies that stem from these small missteps fail to materialize. Devoting more resources to materials management is another workable optimization strategy. Shale production involves solid, liquid and gas ingredients, most notably hydraulic fracturing solutions filled with proppants and chemical additives. Oil and gas companies must have supply chain components that can provide key operational materials on the front end and remove byproduct following production. Firms that successfully streamline these activities can support lucrative shale production workflows with high yield.
3. Bolster workforce training
It takes the collaboration of specialists from a variety of industries to get shale extraction sites up and running. From the construction teams that install foundational infrastructure to the drill operators who drive everyday activities, these workflows are full of talented contributors with specialized skills of all kinds. Companies ramping up their shale operations in light of marketplace developments have to cultivate and expand their talent pools to meet the needs of this industry niche.
But the ongoing skills shortage in the sector may make this difficult. As a result, upskilling existing talent is the only workable solution. Oil and gas organizations can divert workers from verticals with declining prospects and retrain them for work in shale production teams. This move allows energy firms to boost their shale output without investing immense amounts in hiring and recruitment.
Together, these strategies can help businesses in the oil and gas industry take advantage of the continued acceleration and intensification of the shale gas revolution.
Here at USC Consulting Group, we’ve been working with businesses across numerous industries for more than 50 years, including those in the oil and gas space, helping them adapt to marketplace transformations of all kinds. Connect with us today to learn more about our work.
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