9 Tips for Staff Management and Motivation
It’s the end of the year, and that means a few things: The holiday season is upon us, and so is our annual Book Business “tips” issue. We pack as many tips on as many topics as we can into one issue. The end of the year is also performance-review time at many companies. As I prepare my own staff reviews, I got to thinking about being a manager and about the different management styles I’ve worked under throughout my career. Since it seemed most befitting to devote my column this month to “tips,” I decided to share some tips for better staff management and motivation that I’ve gleaned from good managers and companies, and that employees and managers at book publishing companies have shared with us as well.
When your staff’s positions become “stale” (they’re no longer learning new skills and advancing in their career), this is the prime time for them to jump ship. To help avoid this:
1. Ask your staff periodically what they like and dislike about their positions. Can you address concerns over excessive workloads or restructure workloads to give a task they dislike to someone else? (Someone else may enjoy the new task, or maybe a subordinate needs to learn it anyway.)
2. Enable staff to take career-development courses. If it’s not in your budget, can you cut elsewhere to create a budget for it? Can you offer at least a percentage of tuition reimbursement?
3. In addition to formal annual reviews, have staff fill out self-evaluations. Ask them to not only evaluate where they feel they need improvement, but also skills they would like to develop and their long-term goals. Create a plan to achieve these goals.
4. In departments where there is little advancement opportunity, create new opportunities. If you have, for example, one head of production who is unlikely to leave, and a series of production managers, can you create a “senior production manager” title to promote your best production managers? If staff feels they are not being recognized and have nowhere to “go” in their current position, they may think they have to leave to advance.