We've talked about hiring before on IFB (here's parts 1, 2, and 3 of that series if you haven't read it yet), and if you've made the leap into hiring a team of your own…yay! Major congratulations are in order for taking your blog to that next step. Bringing people onto your site (especially if it's just been you until now), is both exciting and scary. It's also necessary if your blog is to grow (there's only so much that can be done in a 24 hour day, after all). But once you've hired people, the easiest part, in some ways, is over. The hard part begins, and that's keeping your new team invested and interested.
I feel incredibly fortunate to have an amazing team behind me on The Lingerie Addict. Five of my writers have been with the site for almost three years, and I've recently hired another five writers. My assistants are reliable and dependable, and my graphic designer is in a class all by himself. There's a lot of reward in having a team, but there's also more risk. Running your blog becomes more complex automatically, and if you don't manage your team well, you can spend a lot of time, energy, and stress needing to find constant replacements. And who needs more stress in their life?
While I'm not a management expert, here are 5 things I've learned over the past 3 years when it comes to making my team happier.
Keep them in the loop.
People want to know how their tasks contribute to the bigger picture. When you ask your team to do something, give a reason. Tell them why it's important or how it relates to the end goal. In addition, make sure your team has the tools needed to make the best decisions they can. When my team does something that makes the blog better, I let them know. Conversely, if they're doing something that's negatively impacting the blog, I tell them that too. If people know why a change is being made, even if it's a difficult change, they're a lot more likely to support you in it.
Give them autonomy.
No one likes being treated like a child. I assume you're hiring adults (or almost-adults), so treat them like the mature individuals they are. I let me my writers choose their own topics for their articles, and my assistants figure out their own workflow for the tasks assigned to them. I don't micromanage. Not only does it save me time to work on other things, it makes the blog better and gives my team members pride in their work. And once a task is done, avoid making constant tweaks. Chances are the finished product won't be exactly the way you would have done it, but if it's 80% there, it's good enough.
Keep expectations clear.
Fuzzy, constantly changing expectations are frustrating and demoralizing. Instead, put your expectations in writing and send those to your team. Then both of you stick by them. If changes need to be made (and there's a good chance they will at some point), make an announcement to your team. And never, ever expect people to “just know” what you're looking for. No matter how amazing the people you are hire, they're not mind readers. I know it sounds obvious, but when you've been working alone for awhile, a lot of things just come automatically to you. However, your team won't have that same background so tasks which seem intuitive to you may need a detailed explanation for them. Don't let unnecessary confusion cloud your working relationship. Be as clear as you can be. Always.
Apologize as often as necessary.
Sometimes you mess up. Sometimes, you mess up really bad. When that happens, be quick to admit you're at fault. People can forgive a mistake, but it's hard to forgive when the person in the wrong digs their heels in and insists they were right. Even if it's a small error, there's nothing with saying you're sorry. Be willing to admit your faults and slip-ups, especially if they inconvenience others. Sometimes, that may even mean being proactive with an apology (for example, if you send an email that comes across a bit “short”). It may take a little more time now, but that's still less time than it takes to find a replacement if hurt feelings linger and your team member leaves.
Pay on time.
Pay on time. Pay on time. Pay on time. Did I mention paying on time? Hopefully your team is working with you because they love your blog and your mission and want to be a part of it, but you've still got to pay folks. Warm fuzzies won't keep the lights on. If you've agreed on a certain payment amount by a certain date, follow through on that. Yes, it might mean you don't pay yourself as quickly. That's okay. Pay your team first and yourself last. If payment is going to be delayed, for whatever, be proactive and let people know. Apologize and keep them up to date. In my experience, people are incredibly understanding if they know what's going on. But never make your team have to chase you down for money. It fosters resentment, and resentment gets in the way of good work.
If you've hired people for your blog, what advice do you have? Let's talk about it in the comments!
[Image credit: Shutterstock.com]