5 tips on how a Kenyan startup can manage its people

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In a previous article, we discussed how startups can find the best talent. However, to maintain peak, performance, how you manage your team is essential! Here are five tips on how to do this.

  1. How do you keep your employees motivated?

There are 2 kinds of factors that affect the satisfaction of employees; hygiene factors and motivators. Hygiene factors create dissatisfaction when they are absent but they are not enough in themselves to create job satisfaction. This could include factors such as remuneration, working conditions, fringe benefits, job security. Motivators are responsible for creating satisfaction. They consist of intrinsic characteristics of a job such as sense of achievement, recognition, responsibility, opportunity for growth or meaning.

Keep your focus on intrinsic factors. Although you need to ensure pay and benefits are fair, the only way to truly build the satisfaction of your team is to focus on creating challenges that your team can derive meaning and a sense of achievement from tackling.

  1. What are the most important systems to set up to manage your human capital when you are a new business?

The law dictates what systems need to be in place. Statutory deductions like tax, NSSF, NHIF and DIT should be the first things you take care of.

As your business grows, you will need to brush up on the Labor Relations requirements as outlined in the Employment, OSHA, WIBA Acts.

A performance appraisal system should also be in place to measure and improve productivity. Set performance standards for you team, communicate them and provide support needed to accomplish them.

  1. How can entrepreneurs click here keep their teams accountable and give constructive feedback to help team members grow without compromising the relationship or the cohesiveness of their team?

Give feedback to your team constantly. Weekly or fortnightly team meeting could help with this. They can be platforms to identify and solve challenges early.  You can also recognize and reward successes immediately to reinforce positive results. Ensure your expectations are clear at the beginning of the period so employees know what the standard is.

  1. How do you encourage teamwork and open communication?

It is a simple matter of culture and must be passed down the hierarchy. You should introduce and live these values. Employee number one will take the cue from you the same as all subsequent employees. Demonstrate the importance of two-way communication and ensure these values are practiced on a day to day basis.

  1. When a key team member wants to leave, how should entrepreneurs handle this?

You cannot deal with this effectively unless you prepared beforehand. Ensure you have you have an employment contract in place. It should specify the notice period so you can have time to find and train a replacement. The current team member can also help show his/her replacement the ropes.

Lack of succession planning has killed many a business. Ensure more than one team member is working on key projects so that an emergency or exit does not stall operations.

The ultimate safeguard however is cultivating good relationships with your team. Create a sense of ownership so they are more likely to consider the effect they their exit may have on your business.

However, it is inevitable that team members will leave to pursue greater opportunities. Be happy for them and continue to build towards your own success.

By Caroline Wambui