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Help for small firms

How to get the best out of your staff: A step-by-step guide

How to get the best out of your staff - Be prepared: Know the basics for conducting effective staff appraisals

You need to:

  • agree with them the objectives of their job and the knowledge, skills and personal attributes they will need to achieve them.
  • hold appraisal reviews. Employees are likely to perform better, and feel happier, if they have a recognised system for talking to their line manager, getting feedback, and getting help to improve and develop.
  • work on your one-to-one skills. Understand what makes your employees tick and how they contribute to your business success. Conversations about good and bad performance can be emotionally fraught, so you may need training in how to effectively conduct difficult conversations. Go to the Acas guide on Challenging conversations and how to manage them to find out more.
  • focus on the development of your staff. If you buy a new piece of equipment, it comes with a manual explaining how to get the best out of it. It's not so simple with people. To work best, your employees need an ongoing process of tweaking, adjusting and reviewing the way they work to continually improve.

Legal check

  • You must not discriminate against employees in the way you manage performance because of their age, race, sex, disability, religion or belief or sexual orientation.
  • The Data Protection Act will generally apply to information you keep about your workers. You should tell them what the information is and what it will be used for. Your workers have a legal right of access to information you hold on them.
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