How the Best Managers Control the Controllables

by Katie Sawyer, · 4 minutes
HOME blog how the best managers control the controllables

Change is the only constant in life. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has added an element of uncertainty that can paralyze and overwhelm even the best leaders.

As a manager of shift workers, there’s a lot that’s outside of your control. Luckily, even during uncertain times, there are always things that are within your control. Turn your focus there.

Read on for seven controllables to keep your attention so you can help your business thrive even when other things seem shaky.

Controllable # 1: The safety and wellbeing of your employees

Riding public transit, accepting customers’ credit cards, and wiping down tables. Your barista deals with a lot of public-facing checkpoints. And that can be scary.

This fear can take a toll on the psychological wellbeing of your employees. While you can’t control every checkpoint throughout your team’s day, you can reassure your staff with some new safety protocols.

  • Provide your team with protective gear such as masks, gloves, and sanitizers.

  • Let your team use hands-free clock in to reduce the number of services they touch at work.

  • Re-organize your space so that it can be social distancing friendly by putting up signs and erecting barrier shields.

Controllable # 2: Build schedules that meet the needs of your employees

Without the right tools, scheduling can be a pain when you manage shift workers. Your employees might be sick, in quarantine, or have to take care of their children. Ever found yourself with a line of clients but no massage therapists to help them heal their aching bones? There are a few things you can do to control your schedule.

  • Use workforce management software to make changes from any device.

  • Allow your employees to trade shifts, with your approval, so that you’re not left scrambling to find replacements last minute.

  • Offer up open shifts to your employees through your mobile scheduling app so that a massage therapist who is available can come in and keep the show going.

Controllable # 3: Ensure accurate pay for your team

Payroll mistakes can be costly for your employees at anytime. But if they’re on reduced hours, they really need to be sure their paycheck is accurate. Ensure that your employees are rewarded for their hard work and avoid penalties, interest, and back taxes using the following tips.

  • Automate your payroll processes by using a payroll processing software. This will help you prevent the errors that come with physical number crunching.

  • Ease your payday by integrating your payroll software and your workforce management software.

  • Use a payroll processing software that is overtime and tax compliant so that you can reduce the time it takes to calculate overtime and taxes.

Controllable # 4: Apply employee feedback

Sometimes, your employees know best. They are in the trenches every day and have a lot of useful information about what is required to make things better at your workplace. Things feel out of hand — for you and your employees — when their voice isn’t heard. Instead, provide a way for your team to give you authentic feedback using these tips and then act on it.

  • Let your employees know that you’d like their brutal, honest feedback.

  • Create a central workplace messaging system where employees can share their ideas, comments and feedback.

  • Check-in often with your employees, at least weekly, so that you are always on the same page.

Controllable # 5: Promote transparency

Most shift workers feel out of the loop, and in a pandemic, tension and uncertainty increase. Put your staff at ease by keeping them aware of crucial information using the following tips.

  • Share important company updates such as redundancies, plans for reopening the business, and new safety protocols.

  • Inform your employees about the decisions that are being made by senior management — and why. Context is super important as it reduces frustration and uncertainty.

  • Let your employees know how you plan to act on any requests moving forward such as overtimes and sick leaves.

Controllable # 6: Practice mutual accountability

When you’re accountable as a manager, it means that you deliver on your commitments and promises which helps build trust with your employees. Here’s how you can maintain mutual accountability.

Controllable # 7: Motivate your team

As you’re trying to re-open your business or keep it afloat, the last thing you need is unmotivated employees. If your employees are unmotivated, they’re more likely to leave or be unproductive. Motivation is totally in your control.

  • Remind your team of the impact that they make to your business and your customer’s lives. For example, your barista who is serving up that morning cup of coffee to the tired working mom who really needs a pick me up or your physical therapist who is helping rehabilitate someone so they can get back to living their life.

  • Make motivation personal by meeting the unique needs of your team members. Are they working towards an extra day off? A bonus? A public shoutout at the next team meeting?

  • Recognize and reward the employees that go above the call of duty.

Thriving during uncertainty

Even during the worst times, you can choose to focus on what you can control. Make controlling the controllables that much easier with a free trial of Deputy.

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