Whatever business you’re in, managing your workforce at a single location is sure to be a daily challenge. But what if there are multiple sites? Whether you’re about to open your second business location or you’re a seasoned manager of multiple branches, the task of managing your team now takes on a whole new dimension.
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Not only do you have more staff to keep track of, but each site will have its own culture with specific needs that are based on the local clientele. Making sure that your operation runs like clockwork at all your sites takes a lot of careful planning and a huge amount of management effort.
Here are 5 tips to successfully manage your team across multiple locations.
1. Different location, same processes and systems
Even though different sites form part of the same business and may carry out exactly the same functions, you’ll find that every location has its own personality. The key to successful management is to consistently implement and maintain the same standard operating procedures across all locations. No point reinventing the wheel for each site, is there?
When it comes to staff management, make sure you keep the same Employee Handbook, the same shift structure and the same training. This will make it so much easier to move staff around at short notice to cover shifts at other branches.
2. Use a staff scheduling and management system
When you’re dealing with several teams based at different locations, maintaining schedules and management systems can be extra tricky. This is where a staff scheduling and management system can be the ideal tool to keep everything organised.
Accessible to everyone in your team(s) and highly user friendly, app based online systems make employee scheduling easy, with the ability to make instant adjustments, sending notifications and reminders direct to individual staff members’ mobile devices, whichever location they happen to be at.
It can’t be stressed enough that the secret of successful multi-location staff management is effective communication with your employees. An online staff management system provides the opportunity to keep everyone in the loop, at all times.
3. Don’t be an absent manager
Easier said than done but if you’re managing more than one location, it is imperative that you put in extra effort to travel to meetings, hold regular Skype meetings or conference calls with teams at different locations and generally make your presence felt.
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Since there will be fewer opportunities for face-to-face ad hoc contact and feedback with your various teams, you need to actively reach out and create a more formal structure to keep in contact. Whether you want to pop in now and again to keep your employees on their toes, show them that you’re taking an active interest in making sure each location has what it needs to be successful, or make yourself available to support your staff when they need you, an overly relaxed approach is unlikely to achieve the desired result.
4. Avoid the urge to micromanage
Taking an active interest in each location is one thing, but trying to micromanage every single location is an impossible task. Taking on too much will lead to mounting levels of stress and overwhelm on your part as you’re trying to keep on top of every single detail at every single location. With the best will in the world, you’re fighting a losing battle.
At the same time, the fact that you’re struggling to manage won’t go unnoticed by your staff and co-workers who will share a sense of frustration that you aren’t delivering on your promises or acting on your own instructions and taking your eye off the ball. It’s time to let go.
5. Practice the art of delegation
As the business grows, so should the management structure. Rather than trying to do it all yourself, relieve the pressure by delegating the bulk of the day-to-day management tasks to an assistant manager or shift supervisor who will report directly to you. That way, your employees will have a local line manager who can deal with smaller problems and local issues when you’re not present, while widening the sense of responsibility within the greater team.
Don’t underestimate what your staff are capable of. There are many tasks that can be handled perfectly well by local employees at each location. As an added bonus, delegating some of the work will make your team feel more involved and invested in the business, which is highly motivating.
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