All companies, irrespective of how many employees they have, need some form of structure and some plan as to who will do what and to what level. Clear responsibilities are vital for any employee, so they know what they must accomplish and why.
Without clear responsibilities, your company will stagger from one disaster to another as essential tasks are not done because everyone thinks someone else will do it!
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Organizational Charts Are Important
Looking at an organizational chart and writing job descriptions is not, for many entrepreneurs, a particularly exciting task but it is a vital one.
As an entrepreneur you are naturally a risk taker, but once you have sunk cold, hard cash into an enterprise you cannot sit back and expect it to morph into something viable. You need to take a firm hold of the reins and ensure that your employees are happy, motivated and determined to see the enterprise succeed.
Each member of your team needs to be both responsible and accountable for tasks that contribute to the success of the organization. They need to ensure that each employee is busy and aware of his or her contribution to the success of the organization.
Just putting down tasks is not in an employee’s best interest unless they can see how the tasks fit together and contribute to the health of the organization. At the same time, as a business owner, you need to be aware of the need to separate specific functions so that you can eliminate, as far as possible, illegal activities.
For example, separate the role of buying goods from the position of paying for those goods. In this way, you make it more difficult for someone to defraud your company.
Use Process Flows
One of the best ways to develop job descriptions is, to begin with, process flows. Look at the business and think of the flow of your products through the business.
By breaking up that flow into logical pieces, you begin to slowly create viable jobs that will keep people busy and give them the level of responsibility they need. Then as your business grows, you can add more levels of supervision as required.
Each level of employee must be able to identify who they report to clearly, and each level must have an apparent understanding of the values of the organization.
The culture, values, and objectives will all stem from the one person that has overall control of the organization. This leader should have a very clear idea of where they intend to take the organization and what needs to be done to get it there. That top-level vision must then be broken into smaller pieces that each member of staff can understand, ensuring they know what must be done to reach that lofty goal.
The values and norms of the organization also stem from the leader. If the leader behaves unethically, make no error your staff will also act unethically!
Check The Number of People Reporting to One Person
If, in your organization chart, you find that one person has more than 15 to 20 people reporting to that position, look very carefully at it. The person filling that position may be overwhelmed.
It may be time to look and see how to divide the supervision functionality better. On the other hand, look carefully at posts with no-one reporting to it. There are cases where this kind of position is essential, for example, a highly skilled technical requirement, but if it is not a highly specialized or vital skill then question why it is there.
One of the critical roles of any middle management structure is to facilitate the day to day operations of the organization, ensure decisions are made quickly and efficiently, and run the business smoothly.
These positions also allow for internal promotion of employees which can be a motivating factor. While middle management positions are essential, they can also be stumbling blocks for the communication that senior management levels want to convey down the hierarchy.
As a senior manager, take the time to know all those junior employees. Essential communication should not be left only to middle managers. Take time to speak directly and ensure that the messages you want to get across get there, without the meaning being diluted, or subtly changed.
The motivation of employees is vital, irrespective of how many there are. Before looking at positive motivation, it is necessary to look at negative motivation or the use of fear. Those subtle or veiled threats are no way to motivate people.
Apart from being wrong on every level, they will eventually drive people away. The prospect of rewarding people for getting things done will motivate for a short time but ultimately this has no real incentive. The costs to the company can become astronomical as every time negative motivation is used the rewards must be bigger and better to get a reaction.
So, What Motivates?
There are a couple of things, but doing an interesting job and getting a reasonable, market related wage for that work are essential. On top of this is the desire to improve oneself. Doing better is built into humans, parents want to give their children a better life than they had, and employees want to better themselves.
Don’t fall back into the habit of offering development opportunities as a reward for completing a task – that is an incentive. Instead, look at the core values of your company and see if personal growth is there.
Does your management team hold the development of their subordinates as a core value? If so look at opportunities for people to develop such as subscriptions to libraries or paying for correspondence courses that are free if the employee passes.
Paying attention to your organizational structure will pay dividends and ensure that you make sure all the critical tasks are taken care of.