Feb 19, 2016

3 Tips for Minimizing Micromanagement to Boost Company Growth

No one likes to have their supervisor looking over their shoulder all day. For hourly employees, micromanagement can be a huge blow to morale, subsequently harming daily operations and customer service quality. Supervisors who feel compelled to micromanage lose valuable time that should be dedicated to more important tasks like merchandising, store planning and marketing. Although some bosses micromanage staff in the name of quality assurance, research shows that employees actually perform worse when they feel they’re being watched.

To maintain an engaged, empowered workforce and a profitable business, service companies need to put an end to micromanagement. Here are three places to start:

  • Training protocol: Most hourly workers undergo some form of training in their first few days on the job, consisting primarily of in-person shadowing, clunky binders and (potentially out of date) manuals. By upgrading the resources hourly employees learn from, managers can mobilize a self-sufficient staff that doesn’t need to be hovered over. Employers that house training materials in digital apps or other tech platforms liberate staff to access these materials anytime, anywhere – providing more autonomy over their workday structure and development. This more modernized approach also gives managers real-time visibility into which instruction modules employees have completed, without having to nag their direct reports.
  • Self-service scheduling: As we’ve seen, the majority of service companies still use outdated methods to assign hourly worker shifts. Consequently, scheduling is rarely a collaborative process; supervisors generate shifts primarily using business inputs (e.g. forecasted traffic) rather than individual employee preferences. This divide can lead to frequent no-shows and store understaffing, which perpetuates micromanagement just to meet a baseline of productivity. To mitigate helicopter bosses and motivate workers, employers should implement platforms that make scheduling an inclusive process. Centralized, transparent scheduling technology gives employees the power to trade shifts on their own and offers managers insight into workers’ needs. Simplified scheduling also puts hours back in supervisors’ days to focus on operational goals rather than micromanaging.
  • Performance evaluations: Associate performance reviews have devolved into sporadic check-ins where managers run staff through impersonal evaluation forms, which are costly and result in little actionable insight. Often, these evaluations are a chance for supervisors to reflect on how well employees complete specific job duties (often the same ones that are micromanaged), rather than focus on their long-term career development or help them understand their role in the success of the company.

To keep costs low while encouraging more employee engagement, employers need to equip managers with tools and processes that facilitate more frequent, meaningful check-ins – both digitally and in-person. Those same resources must be extended to employees so they are encouraged to voice their feedback about the company’s day-to-day operations and take the extra step to contribute beyond their job requirements.

Micromanagement prevents hourly employees, managers and entire companies from reaching their full potential. By embedding smarter technology and procedures within core operations, employers can curb these destructive management behaviors and unlock new opportunities for business growth.

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