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How To Manage Employees Working In An SME

By Erika Rahman
Illustration of Carl the yei watering a building with SME on the front with a money tree growing out of it.

No matter how you look at it, managing employees is hard work. Whether you own a medium-sized business with 50 employees or a small business of under 10, it can be difficult to navigate the ins and outs of daily employment. You’ve already got a lot on your plate, and managing HR is just going to add to the pile.

Managing the employees of your SME can be daunting, or worse, prevent you from moving forward with company growth. You might even be concerned about scaling up your business if it means hiring more workers. Where are you going to find the time to manage all that? And what if you can’t do it?

Well, if more than 31.7 million other small businesses have found a way to manage their workers, so can you! Let’s take a gander through everything you need to know about managing SME employees, from the legal jargon to the practical steps.

The legal requirements of managing workers

If you’re located in the US, the management process is fairly straightforward:

  • Establish a payroll system
  • Add employee benefits (think worker’s comp or unemployment insurance)
  • Following state guidelines for hiring and firing

Seems pretty simple in a bullet list, huh? The truth is that all this management can be pretty frustrating for small businesses to deal with alone, especially as more and more employees get added to the mix. You can, however, get better with practice — or assistive tech!

The benefits of HR for small businesses

More than 70% of small businesses manage HR themselves or through employees, dramatically reducing their effectiveness in the workplace. This costs a whopping $18,800 a year, and more than 13 hours per week. Talk about opportunity cost!

image with text - Benefits of Formal HR Professionals: 1. Save time (which equals money), 2. Attract new top talent, 3. Mitigate compliance issues, 4. Improve culture and engagement, 5. And more!!!

So if you’re not already outsourcing your HR to a trained professional, or if you’re not planning on getting some hired help, you might want to think again. There are loads of benefits to tackling HR processes using assistive help, even if you still want to be hands-on with daily management. A few of the most prominent benefits include:

  • Saving 676 hours of wasted time per year, freeing you up to put out other fires.
  • Attracting heavy-hitters with the experience you need to scale up.
  • Eliminating compliance issues, which could cost thousands of dollars.
  • Improving company culture, thereby increasing employee engagement.
  • Building lasting changes that create sustainable company growth.

HR isn’t just a nice-to-have extra for your SME. It’s absolutely essential to your company’s success and longevity!

Methods of managing employees in a small business

Employee management is a broad topic with thousands of unique methodologies, but we’re just going to focus on the leadership side of things. Below are a couple of leadership methods you can use to manage workers in an SME:

• Autocratic

Employers directly manage everything, and are the sole decision-makers. In other words, it’s efficiency squared.

• Democratic

Everybody at the organization has a say in how it's managed. It takes a long time to implement, but it makes employees happier.

• Laissez-Faire

You trust employees to get their work done right. There’s no backtracking or double-checking required! Sounds great, but keep an eye out for productivity loss and quality of work.

image with text - The management style you use will dramatically impact daily employee management. Although there’s no wrong or right, be sure your style is adapted to meet the needs of the many.

The management style you use will dramatically impact daily employee management. Although there’s no wrong or right, be sure your style is adapted to meet the needs of the many.

Helping employees grow in a small business — 4 pillars

We’ve talked a lot about managing employees in a clinical sense, but what about management that helps employees grow? The more employees grow, the better they perform, and the more your organization can thrive!

There are four major approaches that should be combined at some level:

  1. Recognize their efforts. Make sure they feel appreciated by everyone!
  2. Listen to feedback. Use pulse surveys to gather key indicators.
  3. Connect with employees. Let them build deeper connections.
  4. Lead in confidence. Equip yourself and other managers to drive meaningful performance.
image with text - No matter what you do, keep workers’ needs at the top of your mind.

Remember, employee engagement is key! No matter what you do, keep workers’ needs at the top of your mind.

Small to medium enterprises trust Motivosity

Practical steps and a positive attitude can get you through a lot of things, but we also understand it won’t magically fix your employee management woes. You need something that works as hard as you do, especially when it comes to managing workers effectively. That’s why we’ve got a better solution: Motivosity!

Our incredible engagement software has been providing management solutions for more than a decade, trusted by some of the world’s best places to work. We help employers get connected to their workers and their daily grind, boosting retention, increasing engagement, and better yet, making your life easier!

With Motivosity by your side, managing workers just got ten times less stressful. Write us today to get a demo for your organization! Here’s looking at you, management rockstar!