For those of us with kids, this time of year indicates back to school. My son is entering the fifth grade, but my neighbor teaches kindergarten. She’s both excited at the opportunity to shape young minds, while also overwhelmed with some of their personalities!
There are a lot of parallels between managing kindergartners and managing employees, I’m sure she’d say. Let’s take a look at some of the lessons those teachers might share.
1. Rules are Good
Just try running a kindergarten class without rules. Chaos would definitely ensue! It’s the same with your company. Sure, you don’t like feeling like the Grinch and having a list of rules, but they’re created for a reason: to provide structure to your staff and keep things in line with your expectations.
Of course, there’s a balance between having just enough rules and having too many. Too many unnecessary rules can make your staff feel stifled, and like you don’t trust them to do their jobs. Add rules to your list only as needed, and make sure to enforce them consistently.
2. Everyone is Motivated Differently
What gets one kindergartener to lay down and take a nap won’t do anything for another. Likewise, it’s important to understand what gets each of your employees moving. One staffer might be encouraged to work harder if you offer financial compensation for a boost in productivity. Another employee might prefer to get extra days off for a job well done.
While it can be a challenge to cater to each individual, do your best to offer a variety of motivators for best results.
3. Pairing Up People Makes Them More Efficient
Remember how you were put in a group of kids to work on lessons? The same tip applies in the work world. Scheduling one highly-organized employee on the same shift as someone that needs a bit of guidance can make for a more productive pair.
Consider each employee’s assets and weaknesses and try to find others that may help them thrive.
4. Variety Keeps People Engaged
No kindergartener wants to learn letters all day long. That’s why their days are also filled with coloring, science, and play. Likewise, your staff needs variety. If you have one person in charge of your social media, consider also giving them blog content to write, or letting them dabble in other areas of your business that they’re interested in. As a side effect, you’ll probably have lower turnover as employees will feel more engaged and invested in your company.
5. Each Person Wants to Feel Valued
You know the kid who brings his teacher an apple feels cherished by her. So should your own employees. Never miss the opportunity to congratulate them on a job well done or simply thank them for their work. It’ll go a long way toward them trying harder at their work.
I like to think we retain some of the core skills we learned in kindergarten throughout our lives. But as a business owner, it never hurts to take a refresher in basic human connections.